tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN November 21, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EST
the merits? >> argues that it is not a political question because it is like many other questions that effect foreign-policy. the court said in baker that not every decision that touches on foreign affairs or foreign- policy is a political question that cannot be determined. arguably, according to the government, this effect foreign policy. we say it is simply congress having passed a statute, which either is unconstitutional, we say it is constitutional, or the court should simply enforce it like in the japan whaling case. claim that the outcome might very well affect foreign relations. i would like to reserve my remaining time for rebuttal. >> thank you, mr. lewin.
general verrilli? >> mr. chief justice thomas' supreme court, the general has determined that the passport should not identify israel as the place of birth for persons born in jerusalem. decisions that would countermand that executive judgment, and the constitution, that is an exercise of the executives exclusive recognition power. the constitution commits that power exclusively to the executive. by the record, nor the congress can override that judgment. >> your friend documented history in some length of his reply, where from the beginning
of the administration he says that the two branches after had the authority. >> if i might spend a minute or two on that history, it does not show what my friend suggests that it does. before the starting point of that, i would like to point out that in the washington administration of president confronted the question with respect to whether to recognize the revolutionary government. president washington consulted with his cabinet. jefferson, madison, they decided that this was a power exclusive to the president to such an extent that they did not even need to send a message to the congress that they would recognize the revolutionary government in france.
the second fact that is critical as a matter of history is that nothing has passed both houses in come to the president, purporting to recognize a foreign nation or territorial boundary. >> in the sense that the president has recognized a foreign government over the congressional sustained objection? >> i cannot think of an instance of their sustained objection. the closest that we would come was the jury basis of 1917. congress indicated displeasure with that. the message was sent saying that this was an exclusive executive function. >> what would have been the reasons? this was said to be the case.
all of these words, every time exclusive power appeared, which is what i think you were saying, it is meant that the president can act without supporting authority from congress. it has never been a case or suggestion that congress has legislated the contract -- to the contrary. i would like to hear what you have to say on that argument. >> the court has never before confronted the question of whether congress issued a command. that does not mean that my friend is correct, that this is a situation where congress has
the authority to countermand the decision of the president. even if one thinks about that as a youngstown category three case, it is the kind in which they sided wire is against the united states. the kind of case in category 3 in which the president's judgment can prevail over the contrary judgment in which there is exclusive authority. >> what leads you to that conclusion there are few cases that i can think of where the court has told the president that he can act contrary to the statute. the point was to give you to talk about why. >> i think it would be helpful if i could return to the chief
justice question about history. moving beyond the recognition from washington, when we get to the monroe administration, there is a fight between clay and monroe about whether the president has the authority to recognize this. the only thing that one could point to as an action by congress than even implicates is one heck -- one house of congress passing the appropriations measure for what the global treaties that my friend sites is on page 133, the very page that he cites, his effort to contest this exclusive authority came to an in glorious and. my friend goes on to say that
one year later, when president monroe sought to recognize the republic, he asked congress to join them. yes congress for appropriation for an ambassador. but it was not the sending of an ambassador to the republic of columbia that was recognized. it was when he received the ambassador to constitute recognition. >> there are two examples given in the brief period that was a case where congress recognized and the president acquiesced. a statute implemented by the president. congress with recognition authority acquiesced.
>> if one works through the history, we will see that it is an exclusive executive power. president jackson to the congress said that we should recognize texas. and then he says it is an open question as to whether it is exclusive authority or not. not something that the legislature has ever studied, but as a matter of expediency that question does not need to be resolved. he cautions that congress not to move too quickly for the fear of precipitating war with mexico. i am trying to return to the functional analysis later. i think that what is important is what congress did next. the past two appropriations measures in the house and
senate appropriated funds for an emissary to the republic of texas, but each improve the language that said that such time that the president determined it was appropriate to do so, if one looks at the page that my friend sites, one will see that that language was added because as originally produced, rice were rejected by members of congress on the grounds that they infringe on the president's executive authority. >> if we could just have you addressed a political question doctrine. you say that this is a non just -- none just -- non-just a symbol decision. we can argue that the answer to that analysis is that it is exclusive to the president. i do not understand why labeling it a political question advances
the analysis question. >> there is not a very great deal of difference. in conducting a political question analysis, it is for the court to decide whether there is a textual commitment or for the court to decide the scope. in answering those questions, we think that the court will go a long way to determining the question. >> why not all of the way? if the court decides that the authority is exclusive to the president, it is all over. the political question label seems to be tentative. a substitute.
if that is the commission to the president, it is the end of the case, is it not? >> as a factor that the court has indicated, it agrees that it is a political question. at the end of the day, there may not be much of a difference. >> to identify if it is a political question, one has to identify the question. does the president have exclusive authority in a foreign country? that might be one thing. what if the question is whether the president has exclusive jurisdiction with respect to anything that the president thinks has a bearing on a question of recognition.
is that exclusive to the president? >> no, we think that the question of scope is a question for the court to decide. it is for the court to decide with a very significant deference. with respect to how it will handle status, it is a sensitive and delicate matter. this was arrive that and thought of carefully. >> suppose that the question that is there now, there is another section that says that
the recording of israel as a place of birth on and -- on a passport that will not constitute the sovereignty. would that be constitutional? >> i do not think it would change the analysis. this statute has a title that says the united states policy with respect jerusalem -- >> mine says that the identification of persons -- >> that would not be within the scope of the executive's power to decide the content of the passport and so far as the executive believes that it constitutes an expression of an incident of recognition. the court should review that, but the review should be a significant measure of deference. >> how was that different from
the rationale of the jurisdiction? it is always awkward to tell counsel what is in their that your position would be much stronger if you said there is jurisdiction in the president wins. >> well, we do think that if there is jurisdiction, the president wins. but we do think that the d.c. circuit acted inappropriately -- appropriately -- >> if this rationale remains the law, you have the specter constant legislative determinations that are not clearly invalid. in this seems to me that's, again, with all due respect, not in the best interest of the altman argument you're making.
>> we appreciate that, justice kennedy. we do think that in resolving -- conducting the political question analysis, the questions that the court would need to decide under nixon and powell would go a very long way to clarifying that problem. >> what if you must put on the passport -- passport "israel," close eses, "disputed," parentheses, which would seem to take care of your objection the people are going to look at this and draw a false conclusion. >> i do nothing that changes the analysis, mr. chief justice. >> it is the position of the administration, is it not, that the status of jerusalem is disputed? >> that is correct, mr. chief
justice, but what the united states says about that an official communications -- remember, a passport is not a communication by the passport holder. it is an official united states document the communicates the position of the united states. >> so what if congress says in the place of that you have -- this person has the choice of whether or not to put jerusalem or israel. affect whether the united states recognize and japan -- recognizes jerusalem as part of israel or not. it is just his choice. same problem? >> same problem. >> really? i thought your argument was that someone's going to look at that and say -- that offends me, that you are calling this part of israel. that was foreign-policy significance. >> i do think that this is an area in which the executive has
got to make the judgment because it is a paramount -- is impairment -- it is paramount importance that the nation speak with one voice. >> am i right them this is a role for congress. >> our position is that the recognition power is exclusive to the president. >> what if recognition of a breakaway province of a foreign country by the united states will clearly provoke a war with it that congress -- country? would congress have the power to decree that the president shall not recognize that breakaway province? knowing that if he does recognize it, that they will declare war on the united states? >> that is a situation in which the president would exercise
that recognition power. >> no, we have a foolish president. contrary to our entire history. [laughter] >> i just do not think that the thatdent's would recognize power, but of the president did, it is the president's judgment to make. >> please stay on this. i am willing -- our case says repeatedly that the president is the sole instrument of the united states where for the conduct of foreign policy, but to be the sole instrument and to determine the foreign-policy are two different things. it means that congressman traveling abroad or globetrotting ex-president's, no
one except the president of the united states pronounces foreign policy. it does not necessarily mean that the president determines everything in foreign policy. he is the instrument. there is certainly room in those cases for saying that congress can say what the country's instrument is supposed to do. >> with respect to the question of recognition, it is a power that rests with the executive and in addition to the history, " we do in 220 years of institution, there is no example of congress exercising this power. there are very good functional reasons. answering your earlier question, those are significant. the exercise of the recognition power depends, we think, on three things that make it clear that it needs to be exclusive.
the first is timing, the second is expertise, the third is the need for secrecy. timing did, the israel exemption -- example shows, is the critical importance. apart from that, a recognition that occurs too soon could send events, if they came too late, could squander interest. >> is the textual basis for your argument that the president has exclusive power here? is that the receipt of ambassadors clause alone, or is it something else? because i was frankly a little
bit surprised that your brief put so much weight on that receipt of ambassadors clause, which arguably was meant to give the president purely ministerial function. and so literally, on any other power that the president has. >> hamilton identified it as the source of the recognition power in the washington administration. i think it is now understood the did is hornbook law that that's the textual source. >> if you have got to cast about for something, i do not know what else you would land upon. >> is there. i would say that in addition, to the extent that there is a question, one can see this power as part of what if the court in garamendi described as the vast share of responsibility that the constitution assigns to the executive. we do not think that all of
that share of responsibility is exclusive, but we do think that this is. >> would you be making the same argument you are now if this was not in the constitution? >> given the same functional considerations about the need for it to be in a controlled executive, yes, we would. >> congress can do many things to frustrate a president's decision to recognize another country. would you say that those are all unconstitutional? suppose that the president decides to refuse to appropriate an embassy there. presumably that would not be unconstitutional? >> congress has the authority over appropriations to exercise that authority.
even it is -- even if it is an intention. there could be circumstances in which congress could exercise its appropriations authority in a way that precludes the executive from exercising its recognition power. the executive would in some circumstances believe that it had the authority to move ahead despite the sections by congress. of course, this is not a situation in which congress has passed a sense of the congress resolution about what it thinks. this is an effort by congress to regulate the content of a passport, as the court recognized in haig v. agee, that is a core instrument of diplomatic communication. >> be think that that's an
exclusive power? to determine the contents of passports? >> we do not think that the entire content of passports is an exclusive power. i will explain where we think that line is. congress has for long time, exercise authority over the content of passports. the first passport act was in 1856. what the court said then was that the enactment of the statute merely confirmed the power that everyone understood to be inherent. it said the passports shelby issued under the rules described by the president. when haig led to that language, it led the court to conclude that this was a confirmation of the executive's authority and an action in the aid of that authority. >> i do not want the time to
elapse. you can finish that if you'd like. i'd just like someone somewhere a few words but the political question, which you don't believe in, from reading your brief. i would say you don't believe in much. and my question on the political question for either of you is this -- that is -- that this is an area of foreign affairs. never has this court or anyone else held that congress can go ahead in this area of rail law passed by congress. it is passports, which both regulate. and our real problem is these are words that officially said that they are detailed words and those words may really disrupt coherent foreign policy. there are billions of words that might have the same effect. when you get into this area, the best thing to do is avoid
multifarious pronouncements the various departments of government on one question, do not respect the views of the branches, and judges, stay out of it. let them work it out by themselves. i just want a word from either you and mr. lewin on that. >> well, we do think that the appropriate inquiry for political question purposes is into the relief that the petitioner is seeking. and if the relief the petitioner is seeking would invade the kind of judgments that the constitution commits exclusively to the executive, believes in it commits these kinds of judgments exclusively to the executive is because this is a situation in which multifarious voices are inimical to the national interest. >> that presents the merits
determination. the whole question is who has the authority. whatever label you put on it, if you decide that the president has, as you have said the exclusive authority, that's the end of the matter. >> let me try it this way. in the absence of section 214, i think it would be clear from paint and the belmont that this judgment on recognition is exclusively committed to the executive, and it would be a political question, if a party came in and said i won my passport to some different about jerusalem. >> i think that what the justice is getting at is that the labels important, because if we call this a political question and do not address the merits, the outcome is that the president's is saying that he is entitled to ignore the congress. i do not know what kind of message that sends, but it is a
little unsettling that a court charged with enforcing laws passed by congress are basically saying we are not going to determine whether this law is constitutional or unconstitutional. that is what your definition of political question g. in what situation to really decide not to? >> i think it is quite narrow and the problem is a significant one in the case of textual commitment. the accord does have to decide whether there is a technical commitment.
the court would issue those rulings. >> you told the justice to your position did not depend on contextual commitment. that your position would be the same if their roofs -- if the receive ambassadors cause or not in the constitution. >> i did not mean that it wouldn't be a textual commitment. >> that sounds to me like not in the text. >> well, i think it's the historical loss on the vesting power as functions that have the equivalent of the specific textual commitment. >> this textual commitment applies when somebody comes to the court and ask for it for to make the decision. saying that it is wrong for the state department not to let me say israel on my passport, then
we would say, you know, to actually committed to the executive. this is a different situation with a dispute between both branches. where that happens, i find it hard to say, well, you know, we can buy into it. why? because it is textual the committed to one of the branches? it seems to me that we have to resolve a question. >> as i said earlier, the analysis goes a long way toward answering that question. we do think that this could be seen as a case like gilligan, in looking at the relief that the petitioner is seeking, it leaves the court to conclude that entertaining the claim with the voile the court in decisions are supposed to be made by another branch. in fact, i think you can understand section 214d asks
precisely that, an effort to try to draw the court into this dispute between congress and the executive over whether jerusalem should be recognized as part of israel. >> i will give you a couple of minutes, if my colleagues have questions. >> does that mean to you are content to have this court not say whether it is the exclusive executive power or congressional participation? if we want to abstain and that you fight it out -- that is not what you are asking. it is beside the question that it is exclusively the presidential power. it does not sound to me like abstaining because it is a political question. >> do you want to answer?
>> we do think that whether the court looks at it as a political question or a judgment on the merits, the issue is textual commitment. a situation where the country has to speak with one voice to determine what the country should say. >> thank you. >> i echo my rebuttal in what was said during the argument. let me begin my rebuttal by echoing really what the justice said during my colleagues argument. the question is whether anything of the president thinks there is some recognition, it forecloses this court of or any other or
from making that determination? this is not in our view a recognition case. this is a passport case. the question is, what goes on the passport, and may somebody self-identify? this is again, if one looks at the statute, if one even looks of the foreign affairs manuel, a passport is not the they considered a diplomatic statement. it is an identification of a person allowing them to travel abroad. it is -- if in fact the statute had said that we don't sit jerusalem is part of israel, but you can identify yourself as being in israel, we submit that was all can easily be achieved and was achieved in the case of " -- taiwan by a public statement by the executive. people born in jerusalem can have their passports to either.
-that is their choice. then the department of state can issue a public statement saying that this is not an official american policy. no one is asking this court to decide what is official american policy. no one is asking the court to decide what would happen if there were no congressional statutes. in that case, it would be a political question. but my client had decided that he wanted his passport to israel without a congressional statute and we brought it to accord, the court would say that you are asking us to decide what the department of state should decide. >> the fact is that with regard to this legislation, it is a statute that is determining personal choice with regards to
a passport. this case can be a vehicle for an authoritative clarification of the will of congress in conducting the nation's foreign affairs. if so, we would commit the justice jackson's statement, acknowledging that congress has the final word in the third category. but there are narrower grounds that do not implicate separation of powers issues. it is a passport law within constitutional authority recognizing that the president may not restrict passports without the express or implied approval of congress. that does not require the recognition or involvement of foreign sovereigns. the state department justification for a policy that
congress has disapproved would not withstand scrutiny. the court has merely to look at the record in this case that says they are concerned that there may be misperception of what this means. a misperception. it is extraordinary that on the basis of this fact, american citizens who have been authorized by congress to identify themselves on their passports as been born in israel will find that statute -- that one dozen nations said that this designation on the passport is viewed as an act of war. if united states is going to do this, we are going to do it as an act of war. with that permit the president
to ignore congress? >> if congress determines that the misperception has anything to do with your argument? >> let's assume that a dozen nations said this designation on the passport as we view is an act of war. if the united states is going to do this, we're going to view it as an act of war. would that then permit the president to ignore congress's -- >> i think congress has to weigh that -- and if congress determines that in any event this is what the passport should say, then that is congress -- >> so it's not the misperception that's at issue. >> well, in this case -- >> the misperception has nothing to do with your argument. >> i -- i don't think that's true, because -- >> you are going back to justice scalia's point, which is what you're saying is congress dictates foreign policy in the end. >> in the end, if congress determines that what the president has said in this context is wrong, yes.
we live in a system under which congress passes the law, and the president has the duty -- and i think justice scalia has said it, has the duty to be the sole instrument of foreign policy. the president speaks for the foreign policy that -- when congress authorizes him to do it, he may formulate it. when congress does not authorize him to do it, he may formulate it. but when congress disapproves of what he does, then under justice jackson's test in the steel seizure case, congress prevails. the fact that there is dictum in cases -- particularly curtiss-wright, which has not come up in the course of the argument, but justice sutherland's opinion in the curtiss-wright case in which he spoke broadly of the president as being the sole organ of foreign policy, one has to say that the harvard professor thomas reed powell, who used to tell his students that just because justice sutherland writes clearly, you must not suppose that he thinks clearly. [laughter] we submit that. >> i just have one question on washington's recognition of revolutionary friends. you cite in the brief the fact that the administration was
simply following what it seemed to be a dictate of international law. you want us to infer from that that he was not exercising real discretion there? >> correct. historians have studied and determined that he was just following mr. vattel, who said you had to recognize any country that had the facto control. therefore, since the french revolutionist were in the fact of control of the french government, washington had no choice. he was not exercising any kind of discretion. >> thank you, counsel. the case is submitted. >> coming up, we will hear from the postmaster general live from the national press club in washington, d.c. it starts in about 20 minutes. did president obama signed a new law today that aims at getting
american veterans back into the work force -- work force. joining him for the ceremony was the first lady and the vice president, and his wife. this is about 15 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen who, the president and vice president of the united states. mrs. obama and mrs. joe biden. -- jill biden. [applause]
>> thank you all. thank you, so much. good morning, everyone. i am thrilled to be here today along side the vice president and my favorite person here, jill biden. oh, yeah -- [laughter] you too, honey. representatives of congress and of veterans services organization, and some of our veterans, our nation reaffirms the commitment to the men and women who have served this country so greatly. over the past few years i have had the privilege of meeting with so many of our troops, veterans, and military families. every time that i visit with them in a base, every time that i sit with them in a hospital bed, every time i talked to their kids at a barbecue or
their kids at a barbecue or baseball game, i walked away inspired. their strength, resilience, and commitment to this country is not matched. they leave home for months at a time and go to some of the most dangerous places on earth and risk it all for the country that they love. that courage, that unwavering dedication to a higher calling really sticks with me. it stays in my heart. more importantly, it moves me to act. that is why jill and i started a were joining forces campaign. we wanted to give back. we have been traveling around the country talking to business executives, schools administrators, pretty much anyone who would listen. we have been asking them to find new ways to honor and support
veterans and their families. the really wonderful thing that we found is that people have actually been listening. americans are standing up to show their appreciation. this group has hired 18,000 veterans in the military family and made commitments to hire at least 135,000 more. schools are working with nonprofits to improve the experience of our military children. entertainment executives are making public-service announcements. community groups are gathering donations and putting together thousands of care packages. truly, the list goes on and on. what i have been most struck by this house excited people are to get involved. that is what we want our military members and families to know. people want to do something.
this is something that americans want to do. we want to give something back. we want our veterans to know that we are humbled by their sacrifices and awed by their service. sometimes we have to be asked. i am about to introduce my favorite man. [laughter] someone who is not afraid to ask for the support of our veterans. he has been standing of four veterans since before he was president. since he took office, he has been working hard to restore our nation's a sacred trust with our veterans. not just with words, but with not just with words, but with actions. working with half a million military veteran members, sending them to college, fully supporting a war veterans throughout their lives. he has taken unprecedented steps to improve health care and
expand care for women veterans and wounded warriors. he is working to put an end, once and for all, to the outrage of veteran homelessness. today, with this bill, that story continues. i am truly proud to introduce you to the man who is the favorite man in my life, our president, barack obama. and [laughter] [applause] >> thank you. it is wonderful to see all of you. given the incredible work that my wife and michaud -- jill biden have done for our veterans, i could not be more honored to be with them. we could not be prouder of their
efforts on this front. they have visited so many of our troops over the years, thanking them for their service, comforting their spouses, of voice to their struggles at the national, state, and local level to do more for our veterans. oe biden has been a champion for veterans for decades now. it is his birthday, so that we speak in terms of decades. actually, yesterday with -- was his birthday. [laughter] i will love said the number. you can ask him, if you want. for a man that cares as deeply as joe does, this bill carries particular significance. secretary sinn secchi has been
doing an outstanding job leading our department of veterans affairs from some of the nation's leading veteran service organizations and members of congress that help to make this bill possible. i have often said that the most tomblin part of my job is serving as commander-in-chief to the world's finest military. but the day goes by that i am not called by the strength of character, that the commitment, an incredible sacrifices that their families make on behalf of national security. they do not just fight for their units or commanders, they fight for every single american. citizens that they have never met and will likely never know. just as they fight for us on the battlefield, it is up to us to
work with families as they come home. home. doing right by the military and paying back our veterans. businesses out there, if you are hiring, higher veterans. it is the right thing to do for the economy. we have 850,000 veterans i cannot find work. even though the rate came down last month, unemployment for veterans of iraq and afghanistan continues to rise. bees men and women are the best
that america has to offer. the most highly acclaimed. if they can save lives on the battlefield, they can save life in an ambulance. they can manage a companies supply chain. they can balance the books of a company here and the united states. we have benefited enormously from veterans services overseas. that is why, under my direction, the federal government has already hired more than 20,000 veterans, thanks to the work mentioned by jill and michelle. 135 businesses have vowed to
hire veterans. back in september, i propose a tax credit for any business that hired a veteran that had been unemployed for over four weeks. an even bigger bonus for the hiring of a veteran that has been unemployed for more than six months. six months. today, because democrats and republicans came together, we have made that a lot. over the past decade, 3 million service members have transition back to civilian life, joining those that serve through the decades. as we wind down the war in
afghanistan, this bill is an important step in helping those veterans transition into the workforce. it will pay for a number of other reforms, from education and training to job search assistance. we still need to do more. i have announced a series of executive tax to help him veterans back to work. -- to help the veterans back to work. it gives you access to a suite of career services and six months of personalized counseling with roughly 3001 time career centers across the country. we have launched on-line tools called -- my next move, allowing veterans to apply their skills in the service with civilian careers.
and we have created a new on- line survey to partner with leading search engines to direct them to job openings. all of these initiatives are up and running. you can find them at w hithouse.gov/vets. to our veterans, we will stand with you for as long as it takes to find a job. to the businesses, let me say this, if you are hiring a veteran, they will make you proud, just as they have made this nation proud. once again, i would like to thank all members of congress who were involved. it is important to note that there are millions of other americans still looking for work right now and they deserve the same kind of bipartisan
action that we have seen here today. that is what people have sent us here to do. my message is to keep going. tomorrow i am headed to new hampshire to talk about the american jobs that, a tax cut for every worker. democrats and republicans have traditionally report it -- supported these kinds of tax cuts. it will be easier to hire veterans if the overall economy is going strong. if congress does not act by the end of the year, taxes will go up by roughly $1,000.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up, we will hear from the postmaster general. he will be talking about the cuts in post office staff and deliveries, scheduled to start in a few minutes. first, a look at the joint deficit reduction committee. we spoke to a reporter today on open quote washington journal." -- today of "washington journal." -- on "washington journal."
caller: it was pretty quiet. they basically gave us the ghost between saturday and sunday. host: the big message that we heard? caller: that the other guy is to blame. continuing to say that this failed because of public -- republicans are not willing to consider significant tax increases. republicans continue to said that this fail because democrats want tax increases. it is the old stalemate that nearly threw us into chaos in
august and it has been perpetuated. >> what do you expect to happen today? sounds like there might be an announcement. are we looking at the timing of this to acknowledge the financial markets? >> the congressman was arguing that it should be low key, in joining the statement around 5:00. senator murray, the democratic co-chair said no, we really have to face people and answer questions. i am not sure what the decision has been. host: where was the bright spot in the past week or two? look like a compromise could be reached. how did this all part? caller: a good question. approximately two weekends ago, max baucus and david camper work
through the weekend to try to figure out if they could reach an agreement on taxes. this came a few days after the senator had laid out his first republican proposal. at the end of that we can, therefore acknowledgments -- there were acknowledgments that they have gone higher in taxes, very close to the bottom line $800 billion goal that was the amount you would get if you let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. and over the weekend, republicans approached that number. republicans say that baucus went further than his democratic colleagues were willing to go
and they gained him back. one of the key mysteries of this whole thing is how close were they and why didn't they make it? >> we will be talking to mark zandy from moody's. it will talk about the financial implications of this. what are you hearing from staffers about how dire the situation is. are some people pleased that we move on to the next phase? >> it should not be a particularly dire situation. the tax holiday expires on december 31, and unemployment insurance -- those were the two things that the super committee were supposed to deal with. now that they have failed, congress has got to figure out how to extend them. >> thank you so much. >> taking you live to the national press club here in washington d.c. where introductions are going on at the head table. the postmaster general will be talking about cuts and staff and
delivery. you are watching live coverage on c-span. >> i will ask each of you to briefly stand up as your name is announced. it will begin with their -- to the right, that small with the associated press. -- matt small, with the associated press. also route with the business coalition. drew von bergen, the retired public relations director with the national association of letter carriers. that is how he got his ticket. also joining us is john cosgrove, our senior surviving vp president. for those who are not club members and not know his story, he was inaugurated 51 years ago
this next january. he was inaugurated when j.f.k. offered him congratulations that day. ron strohman is the deputy master general. and we have the new chair of the speakers' committee. she is also our membership secretary. we will skip over the speaker for just a moment. amy morris is the organizer of today's luncheon. she has done a fabulous job. she is executive editor and anchor for federal newsradio, part of the wtop empire. we have the vice chairman and incoming chair as well. glad to have you here today. we have the former npc president a reporter for the federal *. and a senior correspondent for
federer newsradio. please give them your round of applause. [applause] >> popular board tells us of the u.s. postal service. neither snow nor rain nor heat nor night keeps them from their completed rounds. but what might not prevent, a financial storm board. since the birth of this country, the postal service has been part of our community and our communication. that tradition, that service is very much at risk. if the postal service is an organization in need of a new business model, it seems. as it stands, it cannot simply fold. it is under a legal mandate to serve all americans, no matter where they live. the letter carrier deco's door
to door in downtown washington has the same responsibilities boat in a remote alaska. the workers, businesses, and communities that rely on the postal service, its deliveries, and frankly, it's contracts, see it as a linchpin for their survival. it is more than a trillion dollar industry that employs a upwards of 8 million people. while it might be regarded as too big to fail, it begins -- it continues to hemorrhage money and failure begins to look like an option. e-mail and a text messaging is making the handwritten letter seem obsolete. the more complicated aspects perhaps lies with its own
retiree health care plan. the postal service is legally mandated to pay $5.5 billion in prepayments toward retiree health benefits. it is a bill that has come due and the postal service cannot pay. the man who has been tasked with fixing all of this is the postmaster general. patrick donahoe has been with the postal service for 35 years. he began as a clerk. he was formerly named postmaster general less than one year ago and he has his work cut out for him. in early september, the postal service was operating with just one week's worth of cash. the weekly costs for the postal service at up to about a billion dollars. now congress is involved. the 21st century postal service act of 2011 has passed the senate committee on homeland security and government affairs. it awaits action in the senate. seemingly, like a lot of things. [laughter] this bill would preserve it 6-
day mail delivery for the next two years and it would renegotiate existing union contracts to offer buyouts to its employees, and recalibrate pre-funding requirements for retiree health benefits. how can the postal service be saved? will the legislation be the trick or will it be something that just buys a little time? please give a warm welcome to the postmaster general himself, patrick donahoe. [applause] >> thank you for that introduction. it is a pleasure to be here with all of you. i have the privilege of leaving one of america's greatest institutions. it is an organization that serves literally 150 million
american households and businesses on a typical day. it facilitates trillions of dollars in commerce. it supports the $900 billion mailing industry that employs 8 million people. the postal service is part of the bedrock infrastructure of the u.s. economy and our society. throughout our rich history, we found the nation together, and we do so today even in this digital age. we connect every senator to every receiver and provide regular delivery to the most remote locations in this country. americans today view the postal service very favorably, as a familiar institution and a trusted, a viable part of american life. but for the institution to thrive, it requires irrational business model. the postal service is fundamentally a business. yes, it is a government
institution, but it operates as a business. we charge for the delivery of products and services. our revenues go up and down depending on mailing trends in the economy. we report profits and losses. we issued quarterly financial statements. we are even sarbanes oxley compliant. and contrary to the understanding of most americans, the postal service is not supported at all through taxpayer dollars. we generate all of our revenue from the sale of postage products and services. that means the postal service must compete for customers. we must sell, actively sell and persuade people to buy our products in a very competitive marketplace. unfortunately, while we have a mandate to operate like a business, the reality is we do not have the flexibility under current law to function like a business. america needs a postal service
that can operate like -- more like a business. consider the example of a post office. most retail companies would close retail stores that fail to turn a profit. roughly 25,000 out of our 32,000 post offices operate at a loss. we have thousands of post offices that bring in life and $20,000 in revenue in the year that cost more than $60,000 to operate. and many of these are within a few miles of a neighboring post office. and yet, the reaction from attempting to close one of these low activity post offices and provide another option is something to behold. people rallied around their post office and they do so because it is a cherished institution. it is a part of their town. on the one hand, that demonstrates the power of our brand and the extent to which customers feel connected to the postal service. but on the other hand, it makes no business sense. there are better and more
efficient ways to serve our customers. here is an interesting statistic. purchasing stance accounts for 40% of all of the retail transactions that have been at -- 48% of all of the veto transactions that happen at the post office. people go out of their way to buy stamps, and they do not have to do that. today, there are 71000 retail locations that provide a variety of postal services. these retail partners aren't restored, gas stations, pharmacies, and -- are in grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and they are convenient. a lot of them are open seven days a week. in the coming years, we want to dramatically increase the number of retail partnerships that we offer. we think there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to operate these or some other
type of postal unit. by the way, everything you can do at the post office you can also do at usps.com. will there always be a role for a traditional post office? absolutely, but they're also be a range of opinion options for services. but we need flexibility to provide them. we are in a deep financial crisis today because we are in a business model that is tied to the past. we are expected to operate like a business, but do not have the flexibility to do so. our business model is fundamentally in flexible. it prevents the postal service from solving problems and being effective in a way of business would. delivery companies facing a significant downturn in revenue would consider adjusting delivery frequency, just as our competitors did when they saw the economy slowing in 2008 and
2009. and looking ahead and sing another 28% volume decline on top of the 23% we have seen already, the postal service should be able to do the same, i just delivery frequency. -- but just delivery frequency. -- adjust delivery frequency. most companies do not offer pre-retiree health benefits. we are required by law to fund an entire 40-obligation in 10 years. -- an entire 40-year obligation in 10 years. that has effectively bankrupt us. the postal service has also been obliged to overpay in to the federal employee retirement system. not civil service, but federal
this has been an enormous drop on our financials -- a financial stability. consider the worst volume of delivery was in 2008-09. our billion dollar losses were due to raise $7 billion mandated retiree health benefit payment that no other business would have made. given the volume of declines we have experience, that statistics says to me that we do a very good job of controlling costs, but we are working with insurmountable constraint. over the past four years, we have reduced the size of the work force by over 128,000 employees and reduce annual operating costs by $12.4 billion. and we did so while providing record service. that is a tremendous testament to the work our employees do on a daily basis. we have announced plans to reduce the number of mail
processing facilities from 460 today to less than to wonder by the year 2013. we have announced plans to study -- 230 by the end of 2013. we are streamline our operations with the goal of reducing another 120,000 in delivery round. these things are good, but they do not bring us back to profitability. to turn a profit and bring us back to a sustainable financial track, we have advanced a plan to achieve a $20 billion cost reduction by 2015. unfortunately, as things currently stand, we do not have the flexibility in our business model to achieve this goal. for this reason, we propose important changes to the laws that govern the postal service. we propose gaining delivery flexibility, which we have used to transition it -- transition
to a five day delivery schedule. most other post offices have done this years ago and there has been very little cost from a financial standpoint. we have proposed a restoration of the $11.4 billion and a more rational retiree health benefit schedule. we have proposed taking over our federal health employee insurance and that would mean to shifting probiotic -- shifting to private providers. we are also seeking the ability to manage our work force more effectively and with greater flexibility. these and other proposals would enable the postal service to operate more as a business does, to provide better service and better compete for our
customers. i'm grateful that congress is now working on postal reform legislation. the stake holders should be grateful as well we have seen a strong commitment to our issues from congress and the administration. however, there is a big question that needs to be answered about what the final package will look like. how we treat the -- how it treats the model as a business and gives us the standards we need. the postal service is contending with a steady decline, 7% per year, in the use of first-class mail. this is due to the rise of electronic communications. people are paying bills online. the decline puts us in a race to get ahead of the cost curve. to become profitable, we must cut costs faster than the rate of decline with first-class mail. speed is the answer. speed is also the it -- the way to judge whether congress is truly interested in enabling the
postal service to operate more like a business. for business to delay our ability to cut costs, it will result in sizable financial losses. for example, if we are unable to implement a five-day delivery schedule now, we will needlessly carry a $3 billion operating costs. multiplied up by several years and you have a pretty big number. if you consolidate to a hundred 60 mail processing delivers -- 260 mail processing delivery plants in the next year, it will impact our ability to modernize our retail networks and manage our work force and our health care costs more effectively. if congress does not pass legislation that allows for more cost control and does not make more fundamental changes to our business model, the postal service could be running deficits in the range of $10 billion to $15 billion annually.
lack of speed could killed of postal service. -- killed the postal service. these losses will ultimately burden the american taxpayer. volume will decline quickly for the rest of this decade. and we simply do not have the ability to cut our costs quickly enough. those are the facts. with the rights legislation that enable swift action, the postal service can quickly return to profitability and stay profitable, and continue to fund the universal service that we provide today. we need provisions of the legislation that provide us with the speed to reduce our costs by $20 billion by 2015. businesses do not solve issues for years on end. they make decisions quickly and
act quickly. off off unfortunately, the legislation -- unfortunately, the legislation does not provide us with the speed we need. those elements have impose greater constraints on our business model. they do not come close to unraveling the cost reductions of $20 billion by 2015, which they must do in order for us to return to profitability. if passed today, either bill would provide at best a couple of years of profitability and many decades of state losses. however, taking the best of the house, the senate, and the administration approaches, congress can provide the postal orders with the legal framework and business model that it needs. it all comes back to the notion of speed. will the postal service be able to get ahead of the cost curve? or would be doomed for perpetual losses? -- will we be doomed for perpetual losses?
congress needs to give us a business model that allows us to act quickly to lower our costs. today, we operate in a very dynamic environment. people and businesses have many ways to communicate and we have responded with in the current constraints of our business model. we compete for customers and are more efficient than we have ever been. we deliver nearly half of the world's mail and do that with record high level service. we use the most advanced technology for sorting in the world. 95% of the letter-sized mail is never really touched by human hands until a letter carrier puts it in the mailbox. our productivity has increased dramatically since 2000. we have roughly delivered the same amount of volume that we delivered in 1992 with about 170,000 fewer employees. the postal service operates efficiently like a business and compete for customers. we have got to go further down
that path. if we do so, i am convinced that the postal service will have a bright future. we can continue to provide the nation with secure, reliable, affordable delivery platform. we can be profitable and self sustaining. we can continue to innovate and change to meet the mailing and shipping need of the american public for generations to come. we can also be thought of different as a successful business enterprise that performs a vital national function. it will only happen if congress develops a symbol -- single, straight forward copies of legislation. the ability to control and take care of our health care costs, to streamline governance and to provide more flexibility in the way we leverage our work force.
all of this needs to be done right now. the postal service is far too integral to the economic health of this nation to be handcuffed to the past and into an inflexible business model. america needs a postal service that can evolve and operate with fewer constraints. i have no doubt that the postal service will remain the great american institution. but in order to do so, we need a great business model. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much for your poise and your speech. talking about congress and the news today for other reasons and the so-called super committee, and you are talking about congress needing to get the job done for you, let's break this down in two steps.
first, where is the legislation that you are talking about in terms of moving forward, and how do you look at those prospects at this point? the other piece would be, what does the apparent breakdown in the super committee's work, or the inability to come up with the $1.2 trillion, how does that affect your operations? >> first, i think is important to keep in mind that we talk about legislation, we are pushing for legislation that will help you what -- the united states of america, that will help the ailing industry be strong and our board for the future. -- the mailing industry be strong and vibrant for the future. there are a couple of things going on. number one, the administration has weighed in with a letter sent to the deficit commission. i will talk more about that in a second. they agree that we should move from six days to five days.
they agreed to give us our overpayment back and a couple of other small things. you got that on the table. there are two bills, one in the house and one in the senate, and onboth have gone through a markup. they're talking about delivering with flexibility. there are other opportunities for us to control costs, and also some flexibility for pricing going forward. in the senate, we have some good opportunities there from the standpoint of new products development. they have the ability to move from the six days to five days, but the problem is that there is a bit of a delay in time in that. over the course of the next couple of months we would like to get everyone on the same page to work through the legislative process. from a super committee standpoint, what we do not know what is going to happen. there is no one who has come
forth and said we are definitely in there. >> in terms for the prospects of the passage of legislation in the house and senate, how confident are you? >> there are a lot of people that will say that is going to be a tough year and if you do not get it done, it is not going to happen with elections next year. i think the administration and the congress, both the house and the senate, understand the importance of a vital and help the postal service. we have spent a lot of time and these guys have done a lot of good work. if you have seen the work that has already been done with this administration and with the senate, they have gone a lot of things done. over on the house side, they have done a lot. there is a lot of interest. it is just a matter of trying to get what is out there right now thought through and pushed through so we can get things done quickly.
>> one of our listeners sent a big question. what is the intent of the bill if it would not actually saved the postal service? >> from their perspective, it is the best way to approach the issue. there are a couple of things there. they do allow us to quickly move from a six-day to a five-day environment. they are going to give us the overpayment back from the purse system. -- first system. however, there are constraints around the network changes. we would have a little more government oversight with network changes, post offices. i think we can do these things much quicker if we act on them now. within the bill, there is also a control board. it would almost step in like washington d.c. and take over the world for our postal service. if we get to that point, we have failed. we are saying to give us the freedom to act like a business now and we will make sure we
have a much stronger postal service going forward. we do not really need another body to be telling us what to do. >> the postal service was extended contract negotiations with the two unions. are you on your way to arbitration and a deal that "favors union? -- "favors unions?" >> when you see the reductions we have done from a cost standpoint and the productivity that is in there, we have done an excellent job. they understand the issues that are facing the postal service. when we got to the point last night where we needed an extension, i think it is well worth sitting down to continue the talks. there may be a solution in there. from the postal service standpoint, we are looking to resolve this health care issue, and at the same time, more flexibility with our labor. >> what happens if you do not
reach an agreement? >> then we go to arbitration. but i make a loss is much more than half full person. i'm hoping we can get something done. >> the $1.5 billion retiree health payment has come and gone. did you default? and if so, what is the consequence? >> we did not the fault. the continuing resolution with the postal service has been exempted from making a payment until the 18th of december. our proposals on health care would basically eliminates the need to pre-fund. we have laid out a plan and are working with the unions as a potential provider in there. we can eliminate substantial requirements that are now in existence on this organization. this prepayment is different from the entire industry. it needs to be resolved.
>> does it change the benefits of the people who are covered? >> i do not think so. there are people that i've spoken to in two big companies that have recently renegotiated their health plans with the providers -- it is not like we would be getting health care from someone on a street corner. these providers, one of them has reduced costs by 14%, the other by 12%. this year will pay $7 billion in health care without a pre funding. the cost-reduction the $720 million. that gives you big opportunities to cut costs going forward. the other big push with health care is been -- has been to work with our retirees to move them to medicare. right now, we are overpaying for retiree health benefits for retirees since they are not required to go on medicare.
we think we can get a better deal for them, better cross coverage, and a better proposal going forward. >> here is something from a postal employee in lansing, michigan. how do you plan to ratify two contracts currently in the negotiations when you have not honored the uaw -- the apwu contract that you just signed? >> i think we have done a lot of work to honor the apwu contract. we continue to honor it. we have done a lot of work with our employees. >> are you making any changes in your position on post office closings? senator collins said you endorsed the language that would create a new office standard. >> the one thing we do not want
to do is close to a post office and walked away. many of these towns, depends on where you are in the u.s. the further west you get, they are further apart. we are looking at a consolidation to a nearby post office, providing additional rural service. in our rural service, their carriers are a post office on wheels. in many cases we are open for eight hours and we have less than two hours of work, less than one hour in some cases. >> that is a good job to have. >> i know. think how boring it would be. >> [unintelligible] >> oh, i'm sorry. we have those things, but we are looking at things like a village post office that gives those things going. >> do you still have only one week's worth of operating cash?
>> i will have to ask the cfo. here is where we are in the cash. we have a ruling that came out that says we will have to be back the first money that we set aside. we are doing that. we will still have a couple of weeks of operating cash. that is why it is so important to get this resolved because like any other business, we'd want to get off the debt paid get the debtave -- gets the pe paid down so we have a stronger future. >> does the postal service kila can use and other countries model to fix its -- feel it can use another country's model to fix its current situation? >> i have spoken to many around the world and there are different models. a lot of it comes back to public expectations. but we have almost 50% of the world's mail because we have a very different postal service.
bills come through the mail, payments come through the mail, magazines, catalogs. many of these others are much lighter post. the germany charges 75 cents a letter. how about if we moved the price of 2 75 cents and everybody will be happy? i do not think so. we think from a business model perspective, looking forward to my first class mail is going to drop off. -- going forward, first-class mail is going to drop off. there is definitely an opportunity for us and the digital world, and we want to go that direction. >> besides the five-day week delivery schedule, what other best practices can you adopt? it is a variation on the same question. >> we adopt things based on what we see that our industry best.
-- are industry bests. we use the fedex and ups for the transportation services as well. and we have learned a lot from them. we have learned a lot from retailers about how to best serve customers, looking at self-service and so on. from the standard of best practices, we are open to any business in the u.s. to see how best to do it >> what do you do with respect to measuring customer satisfaction, and where are you with that? >> we have a saying that what gets measured gets done. we are measuring everything. we are measuring point to point service. on a monthly basis we have a delivery score for about 8 billion pieces of mail. we measure that against time and
delivery service. we have a customer experience measurement. we are constantly looking at what the customer is saying in order to improve our performance. >> how are you doing, generally speaking? >> our overnight mail service is about 96.5% on time. we only measure very satisfied or mostly satisfied. we do not even want to deal with satisfied. >> how about the treatment at the counter? all of us have had different experiences with that over time. some people are better than others. how do you work on that kind of situation? >> you have to work on it every day because, if you make changes, the of work our reductions that you make, you have to work with the employees to talk about how important it is for good customer service. do we have to do more work?
absolutely. we have a lot of great people out there that provide great service every day. >> how many post offices have you closed, if any, under thethe latest closing initiative? is there a delay in the process of closing? >> we have closed about 500 post offices in the last year. 3700 are still in the evaluation process. we have closed about 50 processing facilities in the past year-and-a-half and will continue to do that. as the volume has dropped, we have to make these changes. you cannot wait until the bitter end. >> is their right appeals process where a community says, hey, we are special? >> yes, here is what happens. if you close a post office you have to have a public meeting and explain why you are doing it. one thing we have learned is it is better to go in and give people options. that is an area where we have not done as well going in.
we have not articulated the options. we will go in, a town has the opportunity to go back to us with an objection or to the regulatory commission. we are doing those kinds of things now. the same thing with the processing area. it is the same kind of public hearing and we go through that same process, too. the most important thing for people to know from a customer's perspective is, we do not want to make it any more difficult to get mail into our system. we want to make it easy. when we retain facilities so people do not go out of their way -- in fact, for a lot of the small businesses, we want the mail to come in the front door rather than the back door. as we make these changes, we will use technology to make a much friendlier process for the
company. >> is there a political process involved? when you are asking congress to give you legislation to make corporations fiscally sustainable, what kind if involvement politically do members of congress have on this decision making process as it relates to closing post offices? >> you get opinions from many different people. and it is interesting -- there are 535 members of congress and if you give them a list of issues for us, you have 535 different scores at the end of that. there are members of congress that would not want to close a post office for any reason. there are some that want us to close. some of them want us to move from six days to five days. our opinion is to put all the options and for the people. the more we can communicate and help people understand where we want to get to and how we are going to get there, i think we will be able to move both the public and congress in that direction.
80% of americans are saying to move from six days to five days. do not become a burden on the american taxpayers. >> back to the union question, there is a lot of animosity between management and unions. do you have any hopes or plans to try to change that? >> i do not think that there is that much of animosity between management and unions. you have that through the organization at any point in time. you can find that in any industry. i think our union leaders are responsible people. the three people at the head of our management, they are responsible people. they have their opinions. i respect those opinions and i know that they have listened to a lot of our suggestions. the bottom line, we have got to coalesce, give some things up in some cases. anytime you come up with a good
win/win situation, everybody has got to give a little bit. >> a knowledgeable person in our audience says 80% of americans may want six-day to five-day delivery, but senator collins does not. how will you deal with that? [laughter] >> her biggest concern is about rural america. what about people getting their medicines? and we have talked through some of those concerns. you -- do you have a saturday delivery? that has been a proposal. the bottom line, we have lost 24% of the male and we are losing another 20%. -- lost 24% of the mail and will lose another 20%. >> speaking of getting politically correct answers, one
says, assess your regulator. do they do a good job in helping the pipe -- the post office a solvent? for its i think we have an excellent regulator. we tried -- >> i think we have an excellent regulator. we tried to reach out many times over the past few years, whether this price or service standards, and we have worked with these guys. to a large extent, it is legislation issues. the regulator does what you have told them to do. if you give them a list of 10 things to do, they have to do those 10 things. if the list is only three things, they do those three things. i did we have a good relationship with the regulator. -- i think we have a good relationship with the regulator precaution -- the regulator. >> someone asks, is it time to
start charging the congress for the postal service? >> we do charge to the congress. many people say you cannot say you do not take any taxpayer money. we don't. even things for the blind and so on, that is just recouping because of laws that have been passed. as for congress, they have to pay. >> another person mentioned, how do you get past each member of congress not accepting post office closings? >> we are a microcosm of what is
happening now. there is a $7 income and $10 spent and you have to figure out what the fairest way to shrink that down. as we sit down with people and you walk through and explain things, they understand. there are very few people i have run into over there who are adamant and would not list them on any point. -- listen on any point. that is the approach we will have to take in order to get this resolved. >> what would ben franklin, our nation's first postmaster general, due to postal service operations -- do to postal service operations? >> i'm not sure. [laughter] i think the thing that is important about the postal service is that you've got to keep the basic tenets of customer service and you're also a sore wrist at the forefront -- and the universal service at the forefront. i think we can do that without
hurting our customers. >> someone asks, if post offices to close, what happens to the release day? >> we are selling real-estate and eliminating leases as we speak. last year we sold something like to one or $50 million, to $300 million worth of businesses. 7% on our floor space is el onta, -- 70% of our floor space is owned, but we only own 30% of our buildings. if someone out there has a lease for a post office, that is considered a municipal bond. do not get rid of that. [laughter] >> what happens to the employees once a facility closes? >> we are working toward that. from an employee's standpoint, we produce the career headcount
-- we have reduced the career headcount by 250,000 people since the year 2000. we have never laid anyone off. we are proud of that. i come from pittsburgh, a steel town. i watched 50,000 people get laid off in one fell swoop. you read our model in the beginning, even though it is unofficial. people feel that way. trying to work things out with the local unions, that is what we are trying to do. one thing we have in our advantage is there are 150,000 people right now who are eligible to retire. if they retire, then they are not employed. we are trying to work through those, too. >> what about selling these facilities that are not great mistake? >> we have had a couple on the market. -- not great real estate? >> we have had a couple on the
market. we thought about a woman on to them, but it is not getting any better. -- we thought about holding onto them, but it is not getting any better. >> how much impact are the current campaigns 4 priority mail and smaller pieces -- for priority mail and smaller pieces having on your shipping cost experts priority is great. -- your shipping cost? >> priority is great. the other thing we have done is we have our advertising right now for first-class mail. it is the first time we have done it in years, and the whole message is the upper class mail is important and we think customers need to think about it that way. we will also have some advertisers coming up for standard mail, and we think it will go a long way, too.
>> for today's business owners, what are some of the most cost- effective ways for customers to use the products and services? >> every door direct. if you are a realtor, and i'm trying to sell people on every door direct appeared -- is a very good way to reach your customers. you can go online and a lot of the charges that you have, once we get more sophisticated, once you go online, it is the most direct way and it is the best return on investment. >> one of the postal service unions has hired ron bluhm to create a growth plan. did they talk to about his strategies for his role? >> we have talked to ron bluhm. i think it is a good move on the part of nelc.
any organization he has been involved with, the focus has been on how to continue to make the organization dry. >> you talk about germany and the 75 cent stamp. how do you know what the right price point is, particularly if you are trying to stanch the flow of red ink? why not have a substantial postal rate increase? >> that has been an issue for us. we are very careful of doing is pricing ourselves out of business. if you take a look, whether it is catalogs or advertising mail or first-class mail or periodicals, each of those provides a way to communicate with a segment of the american public. our big fear is if you put too much of a price on standard meal, they will chase -- on
standard mail, they will chase people to the internet. >> you will stop delivering the mail if congress does not pass a bill to help you. if congress does pass a bill -- a bill to help you, how quickly do you see pulling out of the red? >> i see getting out of the red by the end of 2013. we would have a positive 2014 and a positive 2015. we would be in excellent shape from a debt to revenue perspective, and we would be running with profits. >> someone makes note of the fact that you have prepared to distribute antibiotics in case of another bioterrorism attack. if, god forbid, an attack did come, how ready you feel you are? >> we have worked with the department of human health services in three or four major
cities where we have letter carriers for volunteers and have been to people's houses and have delivered antibiotics or whatever people need. based on what we have done, we would be ready if called upon. >> i think your web site says you have some 216,000 vehicles that you use. what have you learned about alternative energy to fuel them? >> we run a number of small fleets with alternative energy. we have had the largest natural gas fleet going. we run the hydrogen vehicles out on the west coast, and even have experimented with the hybrids. you have got to make very good decisions with vehicles. people pitch out of a time, to buy a new fleet. if we replace our fleet, it will
cost $7 billion. we will keep our fleet for 25 years. if you have a $7 billion investment and you are stuck with it for 25 years, you have to make a good decision. if we had to do today, i would go with the four-cylinder gas engine because it is by far the cheapest to operate. >> is the fleet being reduced inside because -- in size because of the other changes? >> yes, i know we are under 216,000 now. we are probably down to about 211,000. we have been providing vehicles to our rural carriers because it is easier to deliver on of and it is safer. we have reduced by 12,000 to 14,000 vehicles in the last few years. >> there are 200 lots of undeliverable mail that are sold at a profit each month.
are you considering internet based auction methods like gsa? >> i'm not so sure that we should be doing that on something like e-bay or something. i do not know. but we can look at that. >> a member of audience says who will be the first living person on [unintelligible] -- on a u.s. stamp. perhaps lady gaga? >> you have to wait until the committee figures that out. they have some excellent ideas. >> can you share? >> no, i cannot. [laughter] he is a good reporter. >> we are just about out of time. before we ask the very last question, we have a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i would like to remind our audience of one upcoming speaker, jim cantori will be
here on december 14. that will be the next opportunity to see a journalist here at the national press club at the podium, aside for myself perhaps. but the other thing we do for each and every speaker, including other postmasters general over time is to present you with our national press club coffee mug. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> here is our last question. the holidays are approaching, a busy time for shippers all over, including the postal service. when you have to mail something, do you have to stand in line? [laughter] >> i go to the south park pennsylvania office and i'd do it just like all of our customers do. i buy my stance there. it works out great. -- my stamps there. it works out great.
>> thank you. [applause] >> thank you to all of you for coming today and i like to thank our national press club staff, including the national press club journal institute at our broadcast center for helping to organize today's event. finally, here is a reminder that you can find out more about the national press club on our website, and if you want a copy of today's program, check that out at www.press.org. thank you, and we are adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
. >> you just heard the postmaster general, wrapping up things here at the national press club. you can find the remarks of my bank by going to c-span.org, click on the video library. tonight, the communicator 6 a u.s. government sponsored broadcast to other countries, with the president of the middle east broadcasting networks. >> our purpose, our mission, is to describe, journalistically, the events of the day. there's nothing this is we have
to present the american foreign policy, but that is a huge reason why we exist, because people want to know what the american position is. they want it explained. and want to know how it came about. they want to know, is a unified? they want all those answers that they are not getting from local media. >> "the communicators," tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. on capitol hill, both the house and senate out of session. the focus remains on the stalemate among the members of the congressional trend of is the committee. their recommendations and cutting the deficit are due to the congressional budget office for review by midnight tonight. the committee is supposed to vote on a final recommendation wednesday. at the des bidenomics, automatic spending cuts will go into effect by 2013. the white house today urged congress to act during a briefing with press secretary jay carney, who said they plan the president proposed in september could still serve as a road map of he said the
automatic cuts that will come from the defense department are "deeper than we think is wise." but the white house does not think congress should undo the automatic trigger you can watch the press secretary's briefing online at the c-span video library. now discussion from today's "washington journal." host: letter you watching on the market? guest: i have fun watching the
asian markets bitternut the european markets. they're all down. a lot is going on in europe. the markets are down. i think they're disappointed that the super committee could not come up with anything. i do not think it will have long-lasting impact. i do not think the fallout will be significant. but for the moment, the markets are disappointed. caller: is this the moment where the markets may react? does it take having an announcement by the committee to make markets react or is it the pressing message we got our in the sunday talk shows giving enough of a message of its own? guest: i think global investors did not expect a lot to come out of this process. i think there was some hope that the committee would come up with something, not the $1.20 trillion goal there were charged with. that was a stretch. there is some disappointment.
but at the end of the day, i think expectations were pretty low. the committee met them. i do not expect the market to react one way or another in any significant way, at least not yet. i am sure we will talk about it. what the committee has done by failing to set up some problems for later this year and into next. at that point, the markets could have a problem. caller: we had a mixed message yesterday but the implication of the super committee failing and what it might mean for the economy. did you have a particular take away from what you were hearing from members of congress? guest: the thing that concerns
me the most is that there are a number of provisions in the tax code, some spending, that expires at the end of the year, unless they do something. i had hoped that the super committee process would have been a way for them to extend some of these. for example, the payroll tax holiday that we got this year expires at the end of the year. emergency unemployment insurance benefits. these things expire. congress needs to act. the super committee was a window for them to do that. since the committee failed, that has not gotten done. that sets us up for some problems as we move into next year. it does create problems for us in 2012 if congress decides that they do not want to go through with the automatic spending cuts that will now kick in in 2013. that also would be a problem if they fail to follow through on that part of the deal. host: we heard senator john kyl
saying that he does not think the super committee failing will have an impact on the economy. after that, senator john kerry countered and had this to say? >> no, the usa is in a position right now with in europe, the financial system crumbling. the u.s. that a downgrade a moment ago. the crown -- jaundice talked about how they're not going to do the sequester. he talked about how they're going to get out from under it. there is a real fright -- a threat that there will be a downgrade and that the market will look again at washington and say you guys cannot get the job done. and the political confusion and gridlock is enough to say to the world that america cannot get its act together. host: what did you think about that? >guest: i think he has a point. i do not think all this manifest
itself today. i do not think this is the day when the markets to respond negatively to all of this. it is really down the road, as the senator intimated, into next year, if congress decides that they did not want to go through with the automatic spending cuts. so now if the committee fails under current law, there will be $1.20 trillion, a 10-third of is a reduction spending cuts, the kick in beginning 2013. of course, there is a lot of time between now and then. congress can take that back. it they do, that would suggest that we do not have the political will to do the things that are necessary to achieve fiscal sustainability. in that case, it is possible to construct a scenario where other major rating agencies decide they're going to downgrade, too. standard and poor's has already downgraded. they did that back in the summer are on the debt ceiling to ogle. the other major ratings agencies
have not. they could change their mind. that would be very counterproductive. it is important now for congress to follow through and engage in its automatic spending cuts. they're very important to demonstrate to investors, to the world, that we have the political will to do what is necessary to get us on sound. host: one of our followers on twitter rights that the cuts will never see the light of day -- guest: there is a lot of concern about the defense cuts. half of the cuts will be in the fence. there is concern about the magnitude of those cuts. worried that congress may decide we do not want to do that, we
will take some back. it is possible. but it is a close call. i do not think it is a done deal that they do not follow through, no. host: let the democratic caller. good morning. caller: good morning. you're probably too young to remember this -- guest: i am older than i look. caller: during roosevelt's time, they enacted the balance of trade act. during truman's time, they repealed that. they have been digging this deficit hold for more than 60 years. it does not matter who you put in there. guest: well, you are right, my historical knowledge, at least with some accuracy, extends back to the new deal and great
depression could let me point out that more recent history suggests that we can do it. if you go back as recently as the year 2000, we were running a surplus. it was a pretty sizable surplus. it is hard to remember back, but it is unbelievable to think that the concern back then was that there was not going to be enough treasury debt, not enough treasury bonds outstanding, that this would be a problem for financial markets. so the federal reserve and treasury department economists were worried about that, trying to figure out how we would get around that. of course, it has changed a lot since then. but it really was not too long ago that our fiscal situation like much, much brighter. i do think that with some reasonably good policy-making -- i do not know that this is a heavy lift, and in a reasonably good economy, i think we will be able to get this together. i am not as pessimistic about this as many are. host: you had a% politico just
last tuesday looking at what some of the possibilities might be -- you had a piece in political just last tuesday looking at what some of the possibilities might be. you end the peace on a positive note. you do not sound the preston like this could lead to catastrophe. you said it is easy to be pessimistic. these are extraordinarily difficult time peace. we're closer to writing the wrongs that got us into the economic mess than most of us believe. talk more about that. guest: i am optimistic in two broad ways. first, i think we have made a lot of progress, as i said, righting the wrongs. we took on a lot of debt, households, businesses, and the banking system, during the boom and a bubble. since the recession, we have made a lot of progress cutting that debt down but fundamentally, our economy is in a much better place.
it just does not feel that way right now. it has not really shone through. but i think it will. the second brought reason for some optimism is that i do think we have a good fighting chance of getting our fiscal situation in order. under current law, policy makers do nothing, then we will achieve what we need to achieve. that to follow through on the $1.20 trillion in automatic spending cuts the cake in beginning in 2013. of course, the bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 by law. everyone's tax rates go up in 2013. i do not think anybody wants to see that happen. we do not need that to happen. we do not need that much revenue. but that is a point in time where i think it is very likely we are going to address the tax revenue issue. by early 2013, i think there is a reasonable probability that we will have achieved what you might call fiscal sustainability, that we have put ourselves on the track of
smaller deficits and a stable debt load. i think there's good reason to be optimistic. we have to follow through. we cannot let the political process get in the way. there are a number of good things put together. again, it is hard to see this when you have a 9% unemployment rate. with a little bit of luck and a little bit of reasonably good policy making, i believe it will begin to shine through a year, year and a half down the road. independent line, good morning. caller: common sense will tell the american people that the folks we're sending to washington are not there to represent the masses of the people. just like you saw the repeal in ohio of john kasich's anti- bargaining, we have to come out as masses and people in to go to washington to represent the people. they are concerned with gerrymandering, redistricting to maintain their incumbency in the
district and beverly washington, so they stay there and they cite tax pledges and they do stuff to not help the american people. we need to get rid of them. guest: i can certainly hear your frustration and can understand it. let me point out a different perspective. i think our congressmen and senators are there with good intentions, that they're trying to do the right thing. but they reflect the us, the electorate, the population. it really is a fractured thinking among citizens with regard to the appropriate way of addressing our economic and fiscal problems. i do not think it is right to blame them for the fact that we cannot get this together in as graceful ways we all would like. i think it reflects what we're
going through. the other thing i would point out is that it does feel like the political environment is more fractured than any time than anyone can remember. but i am not show sure of that. if you go back and look historically, our nation has always had these kinds of political battles. all the way back to the time of our founding. alexander hamilton, thomas jefferson, alexander hamilton being our first treasury secretary. they would have knockdown, drag out fights, public ones, the newspapers. the words they used were much less congenial than the ones being used today. my point is that this is part of the process. this is part of what makes our democracy really work. we need to be concerned about the political acrimony. we need to fight through it. but i think we also need to understand that it is part of us and part of the american democracy.
host: "wall street journal" reported this today -- host: our guest this mark zandi. he is coming to us from west chester, pennsylvania this morning. let's hear from a republican in massachusetts. caller: thank you for c-span. seems to me that the whole budget deficit reduction committee, the super committee focus is really much ado about little. because we're talking about $1.20 trillion in spending cuts the going to affect in 2013, and it is spread out over 10 years. wouldn't you agree with me that
the best way to reduce the deficit is with economic growth? if you look in fiscal year 2010, the deficit is reduced by 10% just through economic growth and increased tax receipts. and that was with a very tepid growth. guest: i would agree with you. the best way, the least painful way to address our fiscal problems is to get more growth. the question becomes how to do that and what kind of fiscal policies we need to achieve a stronger rate of growth. let me do a little bit of arithmetic for you, show you why i think the $1.20 trillion goal is a meaningful one. i think that if you do the math, under reasonable economic assumptions, we need it roughly $4 trillion in 10-year deficit
reduction over the next 10 years, to achieve is small enough that said that our debt to gdp ratio, and our debt load, stabilizes. that is our goal. i think it is an appropriate goal. that is a goal that republicans and democrats in congress and the president have roughly agreed to. as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling back in august, policymakers agree to almost $1 trillion in spending cuts to achieve that $4 trillion 10-year deficit reduction bill. so we have $1 trillion out of the $4 trillion. if the super committee fails, and it looks like it will, we will get another $1.20 trillion in automatic spending cuts over the next 10 years. so if congress foster, that is $2.2 trillion out of $4 trillion. that means we have another 1 $20 trillion to go. we're not quite there. i think that will come when we start debating the bush tax cuts at the end of this year.
but $1.20 trillion is important and significant. it goes a long way to achieving that $4 trolling goal. i think it will put our economy on the soundtrack and generate the growth we need. host: the piece i mentioned from politico, you wrote this last week when it was still a question of whether or not a deal could be reached. we're hearing reports that it looks like a deal has not been struck. that was when you were looking at what could happen. you talked about with the financial markets would do if there was a deal and then what they would do if there was a big deal. you held on to a lot of promise that, while it was not likely a big deal to be struck, you put it at about 5% probability rate, the economic chaos, you wrote, would be huge. why would that have been so huge, and how could that have a lot of promise? guest: well, hopefully my economic forecasts are better than my political ones.
i was more hopeful that it turns out is actually going to be the case. but the big deal, you know, that is the $4 trillion. that would be achieving that goal but i just articulated. if we did that, then that would put our fiscal situation on solid ground. we would be moving in the right direction. global investors would recognize that. that would be good for the stock market, for the bond market, for confidence more broadly. i think we would all be cheered by that. i think confidence is key. one missing ingredient in this economic recovery is a lack of confidence in our economy. i think this will go a long way to supporting that, lifting it. given that, i think there would be good odds that our economy would really get moving here. the thing that disappoints me the most about what has happened with the super committee is that
we lost an opportunity. this was a golden opportunity. we're not going to have too many more opportunities to solve our problem, to get to that $4 trillion goal under our own terms. we still have time. we need to do it between now and the end of next year. but we're running out of time. to me, the failure of this ever committee is a failure of opportunity. we missed a golden chance. host: a missed opportunity that could have changed the financial positives -- market. guest: that is right. by the way, that is where we're headed. that is where we're going. i think at the end of the day, we're going to get the $4 trillion. it will be something like $3 trillion in government spending cuts. that is where we're headed. i would be very surprised if we do not get there. too bad we did not get there in the super committee, because we
would have saved ourselves a year and would have gotten the economy going much more quickly. unemployment would be headed lower. but unfortunately, because of the failure of the committee, we lost that opportunity. to is not the end of the world. the markets will not react to negatively, but it will cost us a year, unfortunately. a lot more people will be unemployed for a lot longer as a result. host: we have a call on the democrats' line from new jersey. >caller: first of all, i wanted to talk about our temporary step. if everyone that makes $61,000 would contribute a one-time contribution of $1,000, $122,000 would contributed to -- [unintelligible] and keep going like that, right
on up to the millionaires and billionaires. that would be a first step that would help everything. if you calculate every social security number that pays $61,000 and the ones that pays anything above that, second of all, they talk about the bushed cuts -- bush cuts. first of all, president clinton had [unintelligible] the bush cuts, if they paid, what we have a deficit now or not? that is what we have got to look at. it was doomed to fail eventually. when you start taking away from [inaudible] eventually it will go on to a deficit. we need to get some of these snowballs. what i mean is you cannot find
[unintelligible] get them out of washington. start with a new breed. i think we come up with a new brand. one more comment. all these manufacturers, as we bring them back to america, they talk about the price of our manufacturing in america. but who benefits from the money that this from manufacturing overseas? ?ho benefits from that, thank you. guest: in terms of the manufacturing, this sounds very optimistic this morning, but i think our manufacturers are in very good shape to compete going forward. if you are a u.s. company, a manufacturer that survived what we went through in the great recession, you have got to be
doing something right you have a very competitive cost structure. you have to have a market niche for both. and with a slowly depreciating dollar against the currencies of china and other emerging economies, that is a pretty significant tailwind for many manufacturers who want to export. my sense is that manufacturing is going to be a growth industry going forward. it will not create a lot of jobs, because manufacturing is a very productive. but the jobs that are created a very high paying jobs and very good jobs. i am actually quite optimistic. it will be up and down and all around. when you look back over time, the manufacturing is going to do quite well. with regard to the bush tax cuts, you know, i do think that those tax cuts did contributes to the fiscal problems that we're struggling with today. but there are many other reasons for a hours -- for our
fiscal problems. perhaps the most important is 9/11 and the war on terror. if you add up all the costs of iraq, afghan war, all the resources we have devoted to protecting homeland and homeland security, that was just a tremendous weight on our economy. even if we have not had the bush tax cuts, i think we would be struggling with some pretty significant fiscal problems now. even with out 9/11, we knew we were going to have a fiscal problem down the road because of demographics and and continued strong growth in health care costs. those are problems that have been with us for decades. we knew about them. we knew there were going to hit about an hour, and now they are hitting. finally, your first point with respect to asking people -- that the image in the $61,000 in
income to pay another $1,000. effectively, what you're saying, i think, is a tax increase for people who make more than the median income, median being half the people make more than $60,000, half make less. that is part of the debate really. when you think about it, we're debating how to get that $4 trillion in 10-year deficit reduction. we need tax revenue increases. we raise tax rates on upper- income households as a way to do that. most discussion is around taking it down to $250,000 in income but your solution to the problem is in the spirit proposed by many democrats. by the way, i said $4 trillion in 10-year deficit reduction. i think most of that should come through spending cuts. it does need to be balanced.
i do not see any way around that. that is where we're headed, and that is alternately where we are going to end up. host: this asks, please give your perspective on the tax cuts below $250,000 a year, and spending on stimulus. guest: i am very nervous about the near-term, about next year, 2012. under current law, the payroll tax holiday, which is the benefit to all americans, but obviously, because of the limits on taxable income, most significantly to lower income households, that expires. i think that is a problem in this economy. i think it is very important that congress and the administration figure out a way to extend that tax cut for one more year. if congress and the administration do not act, then
on january 1, everyone's taxes are going up. i feel very uncomfortable with that in the context of the current economy. we are grappling with what is going on in europe. the foreclosure crisis is ongoing. growth is still very weak. i think it would be very upon for congress and the administration to come together to extend that for one more year. i think that is key to keeping it all together in the very near term. i do think that, ultimately, we're going to have to generate more tax revenue. if i had to meet our $4 trillion goal and i had my druthers, i would do that entirely through reducing the deductions and credits in the tax code, so-called tax reform, broadening the tax base. if you did that, you could raise a lot of revenue, make the tax code more simple, more fair. and you do not have to raise marginal rates on anybody.
in fact, you could lower them and raise enough revenue if you did enough tax reform. that would be the best way to do it. it will be hard to get done politically, but i am hopeful that at least we will get some tax reform in this process. i am not sure i answered the question, but hopefully i made an important point. host: let's get one e-mail that came in. guest: i thing that is entirely correct. we have an entitlement problem. most people agree with that. we have to address medicare, medicaid, social security, the entitlement programs. we also have to make this work out reasonably well. we need to generate more tax revenue.
so we need to do both. it has to be a balanced approach. otherwise this is not going to get done. the logic is pretty compelling. at the end of the day, i think that logic will prevail. host: this one from twitter. that is his opinion. let's get to the phones, our independent line, from texas. caller: good morning from bishopville, texas, population 22. i am a retired millionaire that i hear so much on your program about. but first, i would like to say that the bush -- the most taxes i never paid was a little over $800,000.10 year. but that was about 70% of the incoming. they're very few corporations that pay that 35%. and i wanted to make that point. the second point i wanted to make is there is only went --
one way we can solve this problem, and we will not go that way, because it is the holy grail. we talked about entitlements, speaking only of those things, social security, medicare, and more. we do not talk about the entitlement of the military industrial complex. total budget for that is a little over $1 trillion a year. and we do not even talk about it all, because you'd rather not talk about defense. we have got to have defense. until we address that problem, and of course, the committee supposedly will address that. but we will leave that out. until we address that -- in fact, it was addressed in 1961 by president dwight d. eisenhower. you said aware of the military- industrial complex. if you read that whole speech, you will understand why we are in such a mess. thank you for your time. guest: thank you. a couple points.
it the super committee fails, and it appears that it will, under current law -- again, if policy makers do nothing, we're going to have $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over a 10-year time span, beginning in 2013. of that $1.2 trillion, a little over $500 billion will be cuts to the defense budget. under current law, if policy makers follow through, then the defense budget is going to be hit by this ever to get our deficits under control. the other point i have made is, right, we do spend a lot on defense and homeland security. but if you look at defense spending compared to the size of our economy, shared gdp, it has more or less fallen, over time. it is up from where it was back
in the 1990's, but it is low by historical standards. ellis' compared to when dwight eisenhower made that speech back in the 1950's, i think we have made a lot of progress in reducing the importance of the defense establishment to our economy, the so-called industrial complex. i am not dismissing it as an issue. there is concern. but i think it is much less of an issue than it was back in the 1950's, when president eisenhower made that very pressing speech. host: this came in from the ap a few moments ago. now that the deadline has arrived and there's apparently no deal for the $1.2 trillion in savings, automatic spending cuts are supposed to take effect -- host: that is john mccain and
lindsey graham who are doing that. what do think, mark zandi, does that change the playing field because they're talking about not letting the cuts go into place? it talks -- it touches on what senator kerrey was talking about yesterday, saying the economy could be affected by this. if we are not serious about cuts, we're not serious about cuts. guest: this is what you would expect. now that the committee has broken down and the automatic spending cuts are coming, there will be efforts by congress to scale that back or at least to reshuffle the spending cuts that are coming. so this is not unexpected. i do think it is important that if congress decides to scale back the cuts to defense spending, that they figure out how to pay for it. if we are not going to make the cuts that we agreed to on defense, then we're going to have to come up with those cuts somewhere else.
i think it is reasonable to say, you know, listen, these cuts to defense are two significant. we need a strong military. this is going to degrade the military. i do not know how to judge that. certainly senator mccain and kyl are very good at that. if we go down that path, it is also very, very important that we figure out how to pay for that, that we stick to the plan and then we get the deficit reduction. because without that, rating agencies will respond. global investors will lose faith, will lose control of the process, and our economy will be much diminished at the end of the day. with a much diminished economy, we will not be to maintain our defense. we need a figure that out. host: mark zandi with moody's. you mentioned the debt ceiling debate over the summer and how it led to a s&p downgraded the u.s. credit rating.
how was this a different situation? is it the expectations that were different? is it entirely and apples and oranges moment? guest: at the end of the day, the ratings agencies are looking out for the people who own our treasury debt. moody's and fitch are saying, you know, under current law, if we stick to the script and the changes, we should be ok. you know, we're going to get the $4 trillion in 10-year deficit reduction that we need to get our deficits down and get a stable debt-to-to gdp ratio. as gdp, they say we do not trust the political process. there's not a different way of expressing this, but this is my interpretation, that we do not think the political process is working and that it will break down and we will not get that $4 trillion. a better way to put it is, there is a probability that the political process will break
down, and it is not 0 probability. if there is any probability at all that the political process is going to break down to the degree that bondholders are not going to get paid, then the u.s. discusses serve its aaa credit rating. the analyst at s&p have a different opinion about how this will work out or the probabilities they attached to it than the major ratings agencies, moody's and fitch. host: republican from norman, oklahoma, welcome. caller: no cilia waitress, and if i do not wait on tables when people come in, i do not get paid. if i am car attendant and i do not work on cars, i do not get paid. so why are politicians up there doing nothing and they still expect that they're going to get paid? i have been a republican for 40 years, and actually, i am getting pretty tired of all of them. but they can do several things that would give people a choice,
like the kids on pell grants. if there want to choose to do drugs, then they cannot get our pell grant money. they need to be paid bea debit card that would not be eligible for tattoos, bar tabs, nail salons. on food stamps, that people are already getting free breakfast and free lunch, another want free dinner, why do people need $800 a month in food stamps? guest: well, let me begin restarted. that is, your frustration with our policy makers, which is, you know, understandable. let me point out, just to reinforce the point, policy makers have actually done a lot. they have, under current law, under the current process, established a mechanism for getting us back on track. yes, we can get derailed if
policies takeover or the economy does not cooperate or we are hit by some unexpected event. but i think they have made significant progress. it is hard to see it and they have to follow through on it, but i think there are reasonable odds that they will and this will become more obvious as to make our way into next year and into 2013. and then, with regard to your last point, with regard to food stamps and i assume unemployment insurance and you are referring to other income support programs, you know, there is two broad reasons why think it is a important for people to receive these benefits. the first is, you know, some people lose their jobs in no fault of the rhone and they cannot find another job, or at least not one quickly in the current environment. for every job opening, there are roughly four to five unemployed.
in that environment in many communities, it is very difficult to find a job. so i think it is inappropriate to provide some support to these households. the other thing -- so i think it is appropriate to provide some support to these households. it is important help the economy during difficult times. we do not have the so-called safety nets in the great depression. that is one of the reasons that we had the depression. when people lost their jobs, they got no help from government rather family. they had no choice but to significantly cut and pull back. they lost confidence and faith in everyone around them. and we suffered a depression. because of that, we put many of these social safety nets into place, and the work quite well. i do sympathize with the argument that is some point, the social safety net gets so strong that people do not have the incentive to go out and look for a job and work hard at getting back into the labor market.
there is some evidence that that may be an issue. but in the grand scheme of things, that is a relatively small issue compared to the benefits provided to the people and to the broader economy. north carolina, democrats line. ofcaller: i noticed a lot republicans saying that the committee was a sham that was set up to fail. and of course, is that republicans came to the table, having signed the pledge. and they knew that they cannot give any other taxes. there was an excellent program last night on "60 minutes," featuring grover norquist, talking about republicans signed the pledge and how they are afraid to go against grover norquist. so there was no way you can negotiate when you come to the table, saying the one thing that
you absolutely cannot do. so they were not open for that. also, i was just listening, and it seemed that the moody's economist indicated that he was very optimistic about 2013 when the bush tax cuts expire. again, this goes back to the republicans not being able to say that the tax cuts can expire now. why do they have to wait to 2013? why couldn't that have been a part of it? i also want to say if a republican wins in 2012, they still cannot raise the taxes, because all of the candidates have signed the same pledge. that is what is happening here. that is why we cannot get the revenue. some other people said you have to have both, you have to have the tax increases. and the democrats have said they are willing to cut some of the entitlements. so without a balanced approach, it will not work.
guest: thank you for your comments. you know, i do not think the supercommittee was a sham. i think it went into this with good intentions. these are really difficult problems, particularly in the context of our very fractured political environment. people have different perspectives on this, very strongly-held, as we hear from the conversation. our policy makers reflect that. as a result, it is very difficult for them to come to terms. but i do not think it was a sham. i actually think the process had some benefit. the fact that this group said down and really thought through a number of different policy options and got estimates of the cost and benefit from the nonpartisan congressional budget office. i think we have learned a lot in the process, and i think that will be helpful in coming together in solving this problem. i think sham is much too strong a word. let me qualify my position on
taxes. again, i do not think anyone's taxes should go up in 2012. in fact, i would strongly argue that we need to extend the payroll tax holiday for another year. i would also argue that we do not need to let the bush tax cuts expire for everybody. that is not necessary. we do not need that to get to that $4 trillion 10-year deficit reduction goal that gets us to where we need to be. i do not think that that is what we need to do or should do. finally, let me say, there's a lot of ways to raise tax revenue. i made this point earlier. i would much rather not raise marginal rates on anybody. i would like to keep the bush tax cuts exactly where they are. but we do need more tax revenue. so we need to have tax reform. which means we need to scale back the deductions and credits
and other loopholes in the tax systems, which we can do. there reasonable ways to do it. we just have to find a political will to execute on that. host: mark zandi, chief economist at moody's. thank you so much for being here this morning. guest: thank you. >> on capitol hill today, the house and senate are out of session. the focus remains on the stalemate among the members of the congressional joint of the said committee. the recommendations on cutting the deficit are due to the congressional budget office for review by midnight tonight. and that committee is supposed to vote on a final recommendation wednesday. if those deadlines are not met, automatic spending cuts would go into effect by 2013. >> more live programming coming up to tell you about. secretary of state clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner have scheduled a news conference today. they will be talking about further steps the u.s. may take to pressure iran.
that is set for 4:30 p.m. eastern time. we will have that right here on c-span for you. tonight, "the communicators" looks at u.s. government sponsored broadcast to other countries with the president of the middle east broadcasting network. >> our mission is to describe, journalistically, the event of the day. nothing says we have to do this with american foreign policy, but that is a huge reason why we exist. people want to know what the american position is. the want it explained. and they want to know how it came about. they want to know, is a unified? the want to know those answers. they're not getting it from local media. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> there was a flood in fort wayne. people were down there filling sandbags.
they had a motorcade down to the flooded area. tick off his jacket. my memory is, he filled three sandbags. said hello to everyone. got back in the car. went back on the plane. but that night, with -- it was reagan filling sandbags with his shirt off. >> thanksgiving day, sam donaldson, andrea mitchell, and former senator chris dodd, talk about the legacy of ronald reagan. new york city mayor michael bloomberg and our rihanna huffington discuss the american dream and opportunities in the u.s.. and john glenn, neil armstrong, buzz aldrin, and michael collins are awarded the congressional medal of honor. for the schedule, go to c- span.org. >> we heard earlier today from white house press secretary jay carney, who urged congress to act amid reports that the so- called supercommittee when not
be able to agree on how to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit. the spokesman criticized republicans for being opposed to higher taxes on the wealthy and said the current defense cuts are not wise. if the committee cannot reach agreement by wednesday about one trillion dollars -- $1 trillion, automatic cuts will go into effect. >> thank you for coming. good to be back after a long, but very successful, trip to the asia-pacific region with the president. those of you who were on that trip no the substantial accomplishments they came out of it, including broadly making clear that the united states will be all-in when it comes to asia. and the importance of the asian- pacific region economically to this country's future. i have a couple of things to announce, and then we can take your questions. first, president obama spoke
earlier today with italian prime minister mario monti to congratulate him on his appointment and to thank him for taking on such a significant responsibility. the president expressed his full confidence in italy's strength and vibrancy and underscored america's support for the steps that italy is taking to advance its economic reform program. the president also reaffirmed the close alliance and friendship between the u.s. and italy. i would also like to draw your attention to the fact that tomorrow in new hampshire, the president will meet with the family and make remarks urging congress to act to extend and expand the payroll tax cuts that has given tax breaks to millions of families across this country. if congress fails to act to extend the current payroll tax, a typical family making $50,000 a year would see their taxes rise by $1,000 at the beginning
of next year, at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet. in the american joseph, the president proposed to expand that tax cut by cutting payroll taxes in half. so a typical family would get an even larger tax cut next year. the typical family making $50,000 a year would get a tax cut of $1,500 of congress acts. the president proposed a full payroll tax holiday on any increase in payroll for firms that hire new workers, providing millions of businesses incentives to create new jobs. with holiday season approaching, the president will urge congress to act not just to ensure that taxes do not go up on middle- class families at the beginning of the year, but also to pass tax breaks for families and small businesses in the american jobs act to help create jobs now. those are my announcements. >> thank you. welcome back to gridlock. the supercommittee -- [laughter]
the supercommittee is expected to announce failure today. so the $1.2 trillion in cuts are triggered in 2013. there are onerous cuts. secretary panetta said it would be devastating. what is the white house reaction to this congressional failure? and, given the dire consequences, why did the white house not become more engaged, a kind of comment to the degree that the president did with speaker boehner in the summer? >> first of all, i will wait for members of that committee to make an announcement as to their success or failure. to the end of your question, the president of the united states, as you noted, throughout the summer, was engaged directly and personally in extensive negotiations with congress, with the speaker of the house, on what would have been a broad and
balanced and substantial proposal to reduce our deficit and debt over the long term. the vice president also was engaged, as you know, with the house majority leader. and those efforts, unfortunately, despite the willingness of the president to take extraordinary steps and to bring his party along with him in their willingness to go along with the kind of balanced approach that he felt was necessary and right for the country, in the end, republicans walked away from that deal. the president, at the beginning of the process, at the beginning of the supercommittee process, the committee established by an act of congress put forward a comprehensive proposal that went well beyond the $1.2 trillion mandated by that act and was a balanced approach to deficit
reduction and getting our long- term debt under control. that has been available to the committee since it first started meeting and is available today with the waning hours left to it to act. as a road map as to how you achieve the kind of balanced approach that americans demand. this committee was established by an act of congress. it was comprised of members of congress. instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, congress should act and fulfil its responsibility. as for the sequestered, it was designed -- again, in this act of congress voted on by members of both parties and signed into law by this president, specifically to be onerous, to hold congress' feet to the fire. it was designed so that it never came to pass, because congress, understanding the consequences of failure, understanding the consequences of inaction, the consequences of being unwilling
to take a balanced approach, were so dire. now, let me just say, congress still has it within its capacity to be responsible and act. as you noted, the sequestered is not take effect for a year. congress could still act and has plenty of time to act. and we call on congress to fulfill its responsibility. >> does the president agree with secretary panetta that wood hollow out our military -- >> we have made clear that the cuts in the sequestered are not the best approach to achieving the kind of deficit reduction that we need. and that the defense cuts are much deeper than we think are wise. as secretary panetta, the president, and others have made clear.
which is why congress needs to fulfill its responsibility. it needs to hold itself to account. it also commission of then try to undo the consequences of their own failure, the consequences that they themselves passed into law. they should do the right thing and come together. it is important to remember, however, that because of the budget control act, the $1.2 trillion that the supercommittee was supposed to achieve in deficit-reduction will happen regardless. that was the purpose of the law. it is congress' responsibility to achieve that in the right way, a better way, and a balanced way. and, again, the president has weighed in with great detail to what he thinks is the right approach, an approach that is supported overwhelmingly by the american people, democrats, independents, and republicans. there is a lot of complexity
that is loaded onto this process unnecessarily. in the end, it comes down to a decision by republicans that they are unwilling to do what the american people say they believe should be done, which is ask the very wealthiest americans, millionaires and billionaires, to pay a little bit extra so we can achieve the deficit reduction and long-term debt control that we need. so that willingness, it is hard to see how we get to an answer. >> you say the responsibility ultimately lies with republicans? >> i think that, as everyone can see from where we have been for this process, the bipartisan proposals put forward by the commissions and by the president and the proposals he worked on with the speaker of the house and the proposals he put forward
for everyone to see in september requires -- everyone who looks at this responsibly says you have to do this in a balanced way. you have to have revenue, a discretionary cuts, defense cuts, as well as internal reforms. the president has always approached this in that balance way. bipartisan commissions have approached it in a balanced way, the president has. so far, republicans in congress have not represented in the balanced way, which is fully the only way to get this done that is fair. otherwise, as we saw from the right and budget, if you do not do it in a balanced way, if you protect the wealthiest americans from having to pay their fair share -- not just protect them from having to pay more, many cases, give them more tax cuts, then the burden falls on its senior citizens who see their medical bills skyrocket and families with children who are disabled and others who are vulnerable in our society. that is the alternative.
if you do not do it in a balanced way. >> another subject, egypt. but lee, a deadly -- bloody, deadly rioting there. they have been vague as to minimize hold presidential elections there, which is part of the cause behind the trading in the streets. >> we are deeply concerned about the violence that has led to a tragic loss of life over the weekend in egypt. we call for restraint from all sides, so that egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united egypt. we do not -- as this process moves forward and as the egyptian people shake their future, the u.s. continues to believe that the tragic events -- that these tragic events should not stand in the way of elections and the continued
transition to democracy that is timely, peaceful, just, and inclusive. it is important to step back and remember how far egypt has traveled this year. it is important that egypt continues to move to make that transition to the democracy that the people of egypt and demanded. and as a result of their demands, they ended a multi- decade dictatorship. we urge restraint on all sides. >> did the general specify? >> i do not want to dictate specifics to egypt. we do in the process needs to move forward. >> you mention the president spoke to the new italian prime minister. expectations of a super
committee are dropping markets down very sharply today. what can the president do to shift to reassure the markets? is the president satisfied at which the speed of the european leaders are now tackling their debt crisis? >> the first point, i will briefly reiterate what i said to jim. jim. the president believes congress and the committee could take up the plan and pass it with its remaining hours if that kind of compromise were something that all sides would want. it is important to remember in it is important to remember in terms of the deficit reduction embedded within the control lacked that it will go forward. the $1.20 trillion minimum will happen, as prescribed by law.
again, not in a way that we want, not in a way that congress should want, which is why congress should take the opportunity to mac than deal with this in a balanced, fair, responsible way. the deficit reduction will happen regardless. as for europe, we remain in a position where we urge europe to rapidly implement the proposals that they put forward. they have the capacity to act, as you know. they have the resources to mac, and we continue to urge them to do that. >> in the past, you have said they're not dealing as quickly from preventing the headwinds to come to the u.s. are they acting as quickly as they need to now?
>> they need to move forward with a rapid, decisive implementation, but rapidity and decisiveness is needed here. obviously, we have new governments in place in italy, greece, and now spain which makes it even more critical for europe to move forward with that implementation. to their credit, the europeans latest foundation for acting -- laid a foundation, and have all the elements they need to create an enhanced rescue facility to chart a sustainable path for greece and continue the structural issues at the heart of the current crisis. as you know, matt, the president, timothy geithner, and others have been very engaged with their european counterparts on this issue offering advice because we have a certain amount of experience in dealing with
this type of crisis. we urge them to move forward rapidly. >> i just want to get some reaction from the white house about the information networks in lebanon and iran that have been discovered. i am wondering if there will be in demand for a review of cia procedures and how much of the white house is concerned that this will affect the attempts to monitor iran's efforts to get a nuclear weapon? >> i will not comment on intelligence matters from here. maybe if you have a more specific question on this issue? >> it is something making news all over the world. i assume you know what i'm talking about. is there no reaction from the
white house at all? is there no concern that this information network has been discovered and people who were serving for the united states may be executed? >> i will not get into a matter of intelligence networks with this. you're talking about iranian behavior in general, i am happy to comment on that. >> would you care to comment on the iranian behavior in general? [laughter] >> the iranian regime is isolated for a reason, because of its constant loudoun of its international obligations. the efforts the william undertaken to further isolate iran, with our international partners, we believe it will continue to put pressure on the regime and drive it to the
conclusion that they need to get right with the world. iranian this behavior is certainly not a new thing or in a problem. we continue to work with our partners to deal with it. >> i just want to follow up on some of the super committee questions. when asked about the white house taking a hands-off approach, you said that the white house did not take a hands-off approach throughout the summer. the decision to take a hands-off approach, with that because the previous approaches failed and the president wanted to see how would work without him playing a role? could you explain this process? >> i disagree. in the summer, the president, as president, had to deal with a potential disaster that would have befallen on this country in the global economy had those who
seemed determined to push this process over the head by allowing us default on our obligations succeeded. there was an urgency at the time that required his direct involvement. let me now argue with the premise which is that he has been disengaged. that is simply false. the premise is that he has been less engaged. the super committee has been in existence for a long time. remember during the summer, there were a lot of calls, " where is the president's plan? where are his ideas on paper? where are they?" we were involved in intense negotiations with the speaker of the house. by design, and by request by the parties of those negotiations, the process was kept relatively
quiet and paper was never made public. there was a hope that it would there was a hope that it would lead to the grand bargain and they would reach an agreement in which balance was achieved, revenues included, and tough decisions on entitlement reforms also included. at the beginning of this process, the committee created by congress, the president, preemptively, if you will, put forward his plans in details. it has never been a mystery to the members with the president thinks or what his preferences were in this process. what we have seen, unfortunately, from very early on was the speaker announced revenues were off the table. basically declaring the vast majority of american people, their ideas on how this should be done were irrelevant. >> we know that is not what happened. >> there was an offer, as we
have seen reported, that involved some revenues while providing even additional tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. that was not the kind of balanced plan that the public supports, and the bipartisan commission's demanded. it was the only way that we can get the kind of sweeping deficit reduction and that control that we need. -- and that control that we need. we made clear from the beginning with the president's position was. it was established by an act of congress with members on the committee who were all legislators in congress. but their mandate was was quite clear. a cop -- the path to compromise was always quite clear. there has to be willingness on both sides. you have to want the kind of balance that the american people
demand. >> but he did make a decision to not be as involved as it did this summer? >> entirely different circumstances. i do not disagree that he was not having one-on-one conversations with the speaker of the house here in the white house on this. but we were in in a different place. that was working out an approach with the speaker that became very well known to the public. the willingness of this president to make tough decisions, do the hard things for democrats, his commitment to bringing democrats along in that process, and what his position that became, i think, has been clear to everyone. >> was that a mistake? >> was a mistake that the president put forward a detailed and comprehensive bill? >> for him not to have been as involved. >> no.
he has been coming from the beginning of this process, directly engaged, providing directly engaged, providing ideas, proposals, specifics . with the congress needs to do to get this done is apparent to everyone who writes about this, reports on a television, who pays attention at all. there is a remarkable and willingness among republicans, unfortunately, to accept the fact that the only way to get from here to there is to do it in a balanced way. that is the only fair way to do it. we hope that congress will eventually act accordingly. let me move to the back. >> on iran, the u.k. has announced that the u.s. is not following suit with sanctioning in the wake of the iaea report why has the u.s. made this decision?
>> we are, as we said we have to do, increasing pressure on iran. we continue to look at all options. we are in this place the amount the isolation they feel, the pressure that they feel because of leadership from here, by this president and this administration working unilaterally and together with our partners and allies around the globe, including the u.k. and in line-- including the u.k. with regards to the central bank, we continue to look at all options and consult,. you should be clear about the actions that we are taking and have taken. >> it so taking the central bank remains an option? >> everything is always on the table. >> on december committee, the president in the past has said that he does not regret not
taking simpson-bowles to the american people. is it not clear now that it was his best shot in getting some kind of debt reduction through? >> we are in a position where the last cut was $3 billion in revenue. the suggestion that revenue twice the size of the president put forward would somehow be agreeable would be interesting. twice the defense cuts is what simpson-bowls called for. let's be clear. many provisions of simpson- bowles or in the provision see it had over the summer. the idea that if we just put a different name on it that republicans -- some are saying they should vote on it now, but let's be realistic about what it calls for in terms of the extent
of revenue and defense cuts as well as many other provisions. the overall approach that thaton-bowelles took is one he adopted quite closely. >> there was less acrimony in washington at that time. >> do you really think so? >> prior to the debt deal, the debt talks. >> i suppose everyone is memories are a little hazy about a golden era in the past. not that i'm aware of. not that i'm aware of. if you're telling me republicans in congress were suddenly willing to embrace the kind of broad, balanced approach, which, again, it is what the president has put forward, that would be great and welcome news. there has been no evidence of that all year long. >> the the white house taking
responsibility for the failure of these debt negotiations? >> congress assigned itself the task. there wrote a law, voted for it, the president signed it. they have to hold themselves accountable. the half to the things that american families do every day, live within their means come and take responsibility for their own actions. the committee they establish that was assigned a task that, again, is not all the complicated and is not all that difficult if there is a willingness to compromise. we continue to urge congress to act. there is an opportunity for congress to act going forward to deal with these problems. in the back? >> of the week and i was in germany, and there was -- people
are really amazed how this country, no government responsibility, no parliamentary responsibility, and how did they deal? the u.s., as far as i know, has the worst debt to gdp ratio than the whole eurozone, not just some countries. from the european perspective, we think it is a bigger mess than europe. we are not proud of where we are, but at least we are doing something. here, nothing is happening. >> again, i do not think it is helpful to get into which side of the atlantic candles its problems better or worse. we need act. congress needs to matt. obviously, as i just discussed in answer to a question
earlier, the europeans need to move forward with rapid implementation of their plans. there is an urgent need in europe to establish an enhanced fire wall and to control this crisis. there is a capacity in europe to do it. there certainly the capacity here and the road map here for what congress needs to do. as i have been discussing in answering these other questions, we hope congress will move forward. what remains true, because of the budget control act that both parties voted for, is that an additional $1.20 trillion in deficit reduction remains the law and will happen. it should not happen through this sequestration. that was not the optimum outcome. it was designed purposely so. it is still the law and that deficit reduction can and should happen. we wanted congress to do it in a
balanced way and to go much further than the $1.20 trillion. the president's proposal combined with the savings in discretionary spending, $4 trillion. that is the kind of approach that, again, if the committee and congress took his proposal, passed them now come and presidents signed into law, it would have enormous the positive effect on the american economy and the global economy. >> the feeling in the eurozone is there is not a time for the u.s. to get in a position to do so. >> there is no benefit and i think we have been clear about our view on europe's capacity and what they need to do. we work very closely with chancellor merkel, president sarkozy, and others. the president, as you know, spoke with the new prime minister in italy and a continue to offer our counsel and advice.
we obviously are very focused on issues that we have here at home. >> it is obvious that we live in a global economy. as the president made any attempt to reach other leaders in the eurozone over this latest issue with the super committee? >> i think i just read out to you the call the president made to the new prime minister. i am not aware of any discussions he is having about the super committee with european leaders. >> he said the $1.20 trillion in the cuts will happen. what makes you so sure that people will not override the veto on that? they are already talking about changing the balance of the cuts. >> the american people expect congress to be accountable and to abide by the law that they
passed. i think it is pretty clear that we do not support regarding that provision. or making changes. it was designed with a specific purpose in mind. it was to put their feet to the fire, which is what everyone said at the time would be the fact of the book -- of these provisions. that remains the case going forward. >> senator murray was here earlier today. >> the president spoke with senator murray as well as a congressman henserling and urged them to work diligently to reach a compromise. i am not aware any conversation
that the president had with senator marie along those lines today. i am not ruling it out, but i'm just not aware. wendell. i think i have made clear our position. again, but the problem here is not a lack of presidential proposals. proposals. i meant to bring out my propaganda, which is the president's comprehensive detailed and lengthy proposal for getting our deficit and debt under control. senator murray and every member of congress knows that well, certainly those in the super committee. members of the media forget about it. but congress needs to do here has been and remains very clear. they need to do their job. they need to fulfil the responsibilities they set for themselves. there is one way out of this, a
willingness to take a balanced approach, the approach that americans of every political persuasion support. if they do that, we can get something done that is significant for this country. >> on iran, senator kirk has an amendment to that he says would effectively collapsed the iranian central bank. it would basically blacklist dealings with countries that do business with iran. why is that a bad idea? >> i think i got a very of -- a variation of this question from jessica. when it comes to iran, we have not already unprecedented levels of sanctions. unilaterally, and working with our partners, around the world we continue to look for ways to
add to the pressure that iran feels and with regards to this specific question of the central bank, and we continue to look at all options. this is an ongoing effort that, again, has isolated iran to agree that as never before been the case. it is having a direct effect on the iranian economy as iranian leaders have conceded. we will continue in order to pressure the iranian regime to get right with the world, live up to their international obligations, and to deal with the fact that the international community is united in their assessment on iranian behavior. look at what has happened since the iaea report. we have had a vote by the board of governors that was overwhelmingly in favor of
pressuring iran and criticizing them for their behavior. then we had a vote in the human general assembly about the plot to assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states. overwhelming support, including arab nations, condemning that behavior. iran has never been this isolated and we continue to put pressure. >> are you saying it is not quite time but that kind of pressure on? >> we do not take options on the table. with regards to this specific one dimension, and we continue to look at options. we consult with congress including those who have a particular interest in this country. >> how concerned is the white house that the super committee could possibly lead to another credit rating downgrade. >> i am not aware of any contact
one way or another with credit rating agencies. i will go back to something that was said earlier about the budget control act. it made bomb the level of further deficit reduction ---- it made law the level of reduction that a the the committee would achieve or that would be a sequester. it is unfortunate, if predictions of their failure proved true, but the law has not changed. congress still has it within their power the ability to act, to do the right thing, to take up a balanced approach, to have democrats and republicans vote for it, and to get it to the white house to be signed into law. >> is their interest in starting a dialogue early? >> you may want to ask the treasury if they have had any of
those discussions. i am not aware of any. >> summer pointing out that the congress or the president do not do anything else through 2013, that they have by default landed in the big deal. one pointed dollars trillion in sequestration kicks in, and if the bush tax cuts expire, then revenue goes up. if the bush tax cuts expire, on will this be a level of balance? that me just make this point on the sequestered. that is not the preferred option. the sequester was designed to be onerous and undesirable. it remains our view that it is not the way to go because congress to do this in a responsible way. they do not need to abdicate their responsibility.
alternately, not to accept the consequences of their inability to compromise, but they need to refocus their efforts on finding a solution here. the position of the president is well known on the kind of approach we need to take. it happens to reflect the position that most americans believe is the right way to go. what happens next year, there are too many variables for me to get into predicting, but what we know now is that congress has all the incentive, as well as the desire of the american people behind moving towards a compromise. we would hope the congress would do that. >> the idea of balance. you are talking about balance in another way, the approach to the middle class. is that which you mean? >> when we talk about balance is
what is lacking in terms of balance in the proposals is any effort to ask the wealthiest americans, in reports that we have seen, have done extraordinarily well over the last decade as middle-class families have seen their income stagnate or decline, asking them to just pay a little bit more so that the burden is not completely borne by the middle class, by seniors, by parents of disabled children. disabled children. revenue is an essential part of balance. entitlement reform is a part of balance. discretionary cuts are part of balance. now, you need to do this in a responsible way so that when you are making more cuts coming you are making choices that allow for the least pain and allow the
economy to grow. one of the reasons why the president is so committed to investments in education and innovation is because they are so essential for future economic growth. the kinds of blind across-the- board cuts that may occur through the sequestered can be harmful in the cases that we have been discussing to our national security budget. the preferred approach is one that is done with eyes wide open where decisions and tough choices are made and they are done in the spirit of compromise and in the spirit of taking a balanced approach so that everyone shares in the prosperity and bears some of the burden. >> and what about the extension of unemployment at the end of this year? >> a key element of the american jobs act. >> what about having paid for? >> it is paid for in the president's proposal, as are all
the provisions of the american job that. we certainly expect the senate to put forward a proposal on the payroll tax cut and the extension of unemployment benefits to reflect those principles. beyond that, i will not speculate. >> turning to syria. secretary clinton said last week that there could be a civil war with the very determined and well-financed opposition. in reaction to that, the syrian foreign minister said that would worry wishful thinking. does the administration's stand by comments made by senator clinton? >> it certainly her comments are accurate in terms of what we're seeing happen in syria. what is clear is that president assaad has lost its legitimacy to lead. he has taken brutal actions against his own people and we call on that regime to seize the
kinds of violent acts that we continue to seek against innocent syrians. again, we are seeing broad isolation of syria because of that behavior. because of his regime. our position has not changed on that. >> with the administration can sit -- consider reaching out to the opposition if you thought they had crossed into a civil war? >> i think that is getting ahead of the matter. the violence has to stop. assaad has lost its legitimacy to lead. >> president obama, given the political importance of the state, is this a sign that the president is official waiting for the 2012 election? >> i can predict with salt confidence that the president will win the democratic caucus in the new hampshire primary.
he traveled all over the country, different parts of the country, to speak about his ideas for getting this economy growing again. i think it is very significant that tomorrow he is going to new hampshire to talk specifically about the need to extend and expand the payroll tax cut that would go to every working american family. in answer to an earlier question, he believes should be paid for by asking millionaires and billionaires to pay a little bit extra. his proposal also includes several tax cuts for businesses. it is of the types of measures -- the existing payroll tax cut put into law last december that has been put in place, it added at least as much as 1% to
the gdp this year. it has added to the growth in this economy. we need to ensure that is in place for next year. americans are struggling and they deserve this tax break. we certainly would be shocked if congress did not go along. republicans, as some have said, do not support a tax cut for working americans. to not support that, but then to demand protecting tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, and even extending them is to me, i would think, an untenable position politically even if it does not lie on your conscience. >> why does the white house think [inaudible] use of the president wants to pick for the payroll tax could extensions for raising taxes on
millionaires and billionaires. if so, what makes you think that that will pass congress? >> the americans drawbacks, including the payroll tax cut extension and expansion, would be paid for that way, through revenues drawn from asking the wealthiest americans to pay a little lecture. now that we're in a situation where we are not voting on the entire job? but elements of the and the senate democrats have put forward these provisions and paid for them so far by asking for a little bit after from millionaires and billionaires. that would be an approach the president supports because it meets the principles that guided him when he designed the american jobs back. as for the super committee if,
in fact, the predictions of its demise prove true, there has demise prove true, there has been an unwillingness to see that this is the way to go. i certainly hope the republicans in the future are going forward now and would entertain the idea of taking that balanced approach, again the approach that was embodied in the simpson- bowles approach, domenici-roblin approach, and somebody began in the president's proposal in september. there are not that many ways to skin this cat. the best way it is evident and
clear to anyone who looks at it. we hope that congress would act on that. >> when with the president first briefed on the lone wolf in new york city? what has his level of involvement in? >> it is a law enforcement matter of the local level, so i would refer you to local officials. i do not know, because i have not asked, but i'm sure he was made aware of it this morning, if not yesterday. >> he referred to the president's proposal that you held up three times last meeting as a prop. since the president issued the proposal, in the intervening months, can you describe is day- to-day involvement of the actions of the super committee including during his asian pacific trip? >> the president called senator murray and congressman henserling to discuss the
progress with the two co- chairman to look forward and to reach a deal. i can describe very clearly to you that the president put forward in the proposal -- i called it a proper because you had all read it in detail prior to me bring in and out two months before it came forward, what his ideas work for them to adopt. we have been through this a number of times. the membership of the committee was made up of members of congress. with a mandate passed into law by congress, the majority of both parties, members of both parties, and there was not a seat at that table that i am aware of for a member of the administration. we have all been in contact with members of congress with various
liaisons' come in contact with members of the committee, but let's be clear. congress assigned itself a job. the assigned 12 of their own numbers a task. a task that was not really that difficult to achieve, if there was a willingness to compromise. if there was a willingness to take a balanced approach that has been supported by the majority of the american people. congress needs to meet its responsibilities. congress needs to take action. this committee had the opportunity to adopt a proposal that was very balanced. unfortunately, because of an unwillingness by one side to do with the american people say is the right thing to do in this case, it looks like they may not achieve that goal. >> i feel like i have answered this question probably a dozen times over the last few months. last one, roger.
>> the super committee is supposed to post the results that it today. >> i do not have any scheduling announcements to make at this time. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> neither the house or senate are in session today. the focus remains the joint
deficit reduction committee. they're due by midnight tonight to allow the cbo time to dally with a plan and to give congress time to read the report. on the recommendations are due by wednesday. if the deadlines are not met, which would have been reading press reports that this is likely to happen, automatic spending cuts will be scheduled for 2013. we continue to report any significant details on this as it develops. more like programming to tell you about. secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner have scheduled a news conference and will be talking about further steps they may take to pressure iran. that is set for four-o'clock 40 5:00 p.m. eastern and we will have it live on c-span. tonight, "the communicator's" looking at government-sponsored broadcasts to other countries with the president of the middle east broadcasting network, brian conniff.
>> our mission is to describe, journalistically, the events of the day. there's nothing that says we have to present american foreign policy, but that is a huge reason why we exist, because people want to know. what is the american position? they wanted explained. they want to know why it comes about. they want to know if it is unified. they want all those answers that they are not getting from local media. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> there was a flood in fort wayne. people were down there filling sandbags trying to keep the river. air force one had stopped and took a motorcade down to the flooded area. my memory is he filled three sandbags, said hello to everyone, got back in the car, went back to the plan. that night, it was not that he
sold three sandbags, but that he did it with his shirt off. >> sam donaldson, chris dodd, and others talking about the legacy of ronald reagan. discussing the american dream and opportunities in the u.s. john glenn, the armstrong, -- neil armstrong, and buzz aldrin. for the entire schedule, c- span.org. ex-president obama signed a new law today getting american veterans back in the work force. under the legislation, and businesses will be given tax credits to hire veterans. joining for the ceremony, the first lady, the vice-president, and dr. jill biden. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of united states, the vice-president of the united states, the first lady, and dr.
jill biden. [applause] >> thank you all. thanks so much. good morning, everyone. please, rest. i am thrilled to be here today alongside the vice president, and my favorite person here, jill biden. oh, yes. [laughter] you, too, honey. secretary shinseki, members of congress, representatives of service organizations, and some of our veterans as our nation reaffirms its commitment to the
men and women who have served this country so bravely. over the past few years, i have had the privilege of meeting with so many of our troops, veterans, and military families. every time i visit with them at a base, every time i sit with them in a hospital bed, every time i talk to their kids at a barbecue or a baseball game. i walk away inspired. their strength and resilience, and commitment to this country is simply unmatched. they leave home for months at a time, go to some of the most dangerous places on earth, and they risk it all for the country that they love. that courage, that unwavering dedication to a higher calling really sticks with me. it stays in my heart. more importantly, it moves me to mac.
that is why -- it moves me to act. that is why jill and i started the joining forces campaign. we have traveled from city to city talking to non-profit leaders, school administrators come clergy leaders, pretty much anyone who would listen. we have been asking them to sign up new ways to support our veterans and their families. the really wonderful thing that we found is that people are actually listening. americans are standing up to show their appreciation. businesses have already hired more than 18,000 veterans and military families, and they have made commitments to hire at least 135,000 more. schools are working with non- profits, technology companies to improve the experience of our military children. entertainment executives are making public service
announcements, community groups gathering donations in putting together thousands of care packages. truly, the list does go on, and on, and on. what i have been most struck by is how excited people are to get involved. that is what we want our military members and their families to know. people want to do something. this is something that americans want to do. we want to give something back. we want our veterans to know that we are humbled by their sacrifice and in all of their service. -- in awe. sometimes we need a little nudge. i am about to introduce my favorite man who is someone who is not afraid to ask for the support for our veterans. he has been standing up for veterans since before he was president. since he took office, he has been working hard to strengthen
our nation's sacred trust with our veterans, not just with words, but with actions. he has helped send more than 500,000 military and family members to cholent -- to college and he is building a better va. he is taking unprecedented steps to improve mental health care and expand care for women veterans and wounded warriors. he is working to put an end once and for all to the outrage of a veteran homelessness. today, with this bill, the story continues. i am truly proud to introduce you to the man who is the favorite man in my life, our president, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. it is wonderful to see all of you.
thank you for being here. thank you, mich, who is a pretty good speaker, so i try not to follow her. given the incredible work that she and jill biden have done in advocating for our veterans, i could not be more honored to be with them. i know a joke shares my feeling. we could not be more proud of their efforts on this front. over the past three years, they have visited some many of our troops. the have thank them for their service, comforted their spouses, given voice to their struggles, and have challenged all of us at the national, state, and local level to do more for our veterans. joe biden has been a champion of veterans for decades. it is his birthday, so we can speak of him in decades. [laughter]
yesterday after it was his birthday. i will not give the number. you can ask jill, if you want. for a man who cares as deeply about the troops as it joe does, this bill, i imagine, was a pretty good birthday gift. secretary shinseki is here. where is he? there he is. rick has been doing an outstanding job leading the department of veterans affairs. i am proud to say that we're joined by some of the nation's leading veteran service organizations and members of congress who helped make this bill possible. i have often said that the most troubling part of my job is serving as commander in chief to the world's finest military. not a day goes by when i am not awed by our troops, the strength of their character, by the depth of commitment, and the incredible sacrifices they and
their families make on behalf of our nation's freedom and security. the men and women of our military do not just fight for each other. they do not just fight for their units, their commanders, but they fight for every single american, the millions of fellow citizens that they have never met and will likely never know. just as they fight for us on the battlefield, it is up for us to fight for our troops and their families when they come home. that is why today is such a wonderful day. today, a deeply grateful nation is doing right by our military and paying back just a little bit of what we owe to our veterans. today, the message is simple. for businesses out there, if you are hiring, hire a veteran. the right thing to do for you, it is the right thing to do for them, and it is the right thing to do for our economy. we have added more than 350,000
private-sector jobs over the last three months and we had 850,000 veterans who cannot find work even though the overall unemployment rate came down just a little bit last month, and employment for veterans of iraq and afghanistan continues to rise. that is not right. these men and women are the best that america has to offer. they are some of the most highly trained. they are highly educated, highly skilled workers. if they can save lives on the battlefield, certainly they can save a life in an ambulance. they can manage convoys moving tons of equipment over dangerous terrain and they can manage a company supply chain. they can track millions of dollars in assets in iraq, and they can balance the books of any company here in the united states. our country has benefited enormously from our veterans and
their service overseas. we will benefit just the same from their service here at home. that is why, under my direction, the government has already hired more than 120,000 veterans thanks to the work that gel and michelle mentioned. some of our most patriotic businesses have pledged to hire 135,000 more veterans and military spouses and to date we are giving them just one more reason to give veterans a job. i sent congress a jobs bill back in september and i proposed a tax credit for any business that hires a veteran that has been unemployed for at least four weeks. i proposed an even bigger tax break they hired a veteran that has been unemployed for at least six months. if they hire unemployed veteran with a disability, i proposed to double the tax break we already had in place. today, because democrats and republicans came together, i am
proud to sign those proposals into law. i urge every business owner out there that is hiring to hire a that right away. -- hire a vet right away. 3 million service members of transition back to civilian life, 3 million that have served through the decades. as we end the war in iraq and we wind down in afghanistan, over 1 million more will join them over the next five years. this bill is an important step in helping those veterans transition into the workforce. beyond the tax break, it also contains a number of other reforms from education, training, career counseling, job services assistance. we still need to do more. that is why i am all so -- also announcing a veteran gold card, post-9/11 veterans can download
it today and it gives you access to career services and access to career services and personal counseling at 3000 career centers located across the country. we have launched an easy-to-use online tool called my next move. you can enter in the skills you have acquired and match that information with civilian careers that will best fit your unique experience to use. and we have created a new on- line service is called the veteran's job bank, a partnership with leading search engines to lank unemployed veterans with job openings. all of these initiatives are up and running right now. you can find them at whitehouse.gov/vets. to our veterans, know that we will stand with you as long as it takes for you to find a job. to our businesses, let me say again -- if you are hiring, hire a veteran.
they will make you proud. they have made this nation proud. i am pleased that both parties can to get a to make this happen, so once again i want to thank all members of congress involved. it is important to note that in addition to our veterans, there are millions of other americans still looking for work and they deserve the kind of bold, bipartisan action that brought us here today. that is why people sent us here. my message to every member of congress is to keep going, keep working, keep finding more ways to put partisanship aside and put more americans back to work. tomorrow and i had to new hampshire to talk about another proposal of the american jobs at a tax cuts for nearly every worker and small-business owner in america. democrats and republicans traditionally support these types of tax cuts and independent economists have said this proposal is one of the best ways to boost our economy and
spur hiring. it will be easy for us to hire are veterans at the overall economy is going strong. there's no reason not to vote for these tax cuts. if congress does not act by the end of the year, than the typical family's taxes will go up by roughly $1,000. that is the last thing our middle class and economy needs right now. it is the last thing that our veterans need right now. let's keep at it. the politics, no delays, no excuses, and let's keep doing everything we can to get america back to work. on that note, it is my great pleasure to do my job and sign this bill into law. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you, guys. [applause] [applause] >> 45 minutes from now, secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner has cancelled a news conference talking about further steps the u.s. may take to pressure iran. that is that is set for 4:45 p.m. eastern and we will have it live here on c-span. tonight, "the communicator's"
looking at u.s. government ought to broadcast to other countries but the president of the middle east broadcasting networks, brian conniff. >> our purpose, our mission is to describe, journalistically, the events of the day. there is nothing that says we have to present the american foreign policy. huge reason why we exist. because people want to know what the american position as. they want it explained. they want to know how it came about. they want to know, it is it unified? the what the answer is that they are not getting from local media. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> there was a flood in fort wayne. i mean, people were down there filling sandbags, desperately trying to keep the river -- so air force one stopped. they had a motorcade to the flooded area. took off his jacket. my memory as he filled three sandbags, said hello to
everyone, got back in the car, went back on the plane. but that is not what was filled with the airways. it was not three sandbags. it was reagan filling sandbags with his shirt off. >> banks and giving day, sam donaldson, andrea mitchell, and former senator chris dodd talk about the legacy of ronald reagan. new york city mayor and arriana huffington discuss the american dream and opportunities in the u.s. and astronauts are awarded the congressional medal of honor. for the thanksgiving day special, go to c-span.org. >> paul singer, an investigative reporter, was on this morning's "washington journal" to talk about the practice of private groups paying for trips for members of congress.
host: a group asks congress to dispose airline perks. why? guest: folks are asking members of congress if they're taking some sort of benefit from companies that they should not be getting. and asking, well, heck, you get special treatment at the airports that the rest of us do not get. you have special treatment that the airlines did you can double book flights and the rest of the cannot. should you report that as a sort of compensation question the members of congress love to fly. you can argue we want them to fly because we would like them to see things and talk to important people overseas. the question is, who should pay for it, and how much is worthwhile travel? host: here is a line from the
story -- guest: this story drove people crazy. it basically said if you are a member of congress, you can call the airlines until the money to book three or four flights, not sure which one. they would say, ok, and it would not have to pay for it all. the rest of us tonight get that benefit. host: what is the trouble with doing that? they might need to go to washington or two congressional field hearings. and there are scheduled changes. they're always these variables. guest: the point is exactly this, if we agree that we allow them to do that and we believe it is ok, we should recognize that we get it did from but that that the rest of us do. they are not experiencing the airport the way that you and i are. the question is, who is going to pay for the travel?
a taxpayer, a private group, should pay for themselves? interesting questions about where the funding for the trouble comes from in the pros and cons. the rules are that you cannot use official money from official travel. you cannot use it for personal travel. the real change of who can pay for travel, after jack abramoff -- several years ago, there is a debate about, should we be letting companies pay to play golf in scotland? now they say, private companies with lobbyists can only pay for a very limited travel. but nonprofit groups and labor travel overseas, can pay for fairly lavish trips. what is happening is you are seeing nonprofit groups pop-up that are funded by companies that do lobby and by people who would not be able to pay for travel otherwise. it does this trick where it, yeah, my company cannot pay for travel, but i can find in non-
profit and they could pay for travel. while we're overseas having a good time, company officials will come sit down with them for a nice conversation. host: predefined the information? how do do the research? guest: we're sneaky people, in general. host: how much of this public? an american citizen wants to know what a member of congress and within the purpose -- perks they get? >guest: you can go to the website of the clerk of the house of representatives. easier in the senate. to the clerk of the house of representatives, and there is a spot this is disclosure. you click there and type in your members name. they have to report of the gift travel they get. the forms are all there. both members and staff. it just takes a while to read them and find out where they are all buried you can go to some of the nonprofit organizations, like opensecrets.org that track
these things bit of a track these and compile this information. so people can go there and find their information. host: you can also look at roll call. guest: yes, although our databases harder to find. host: the top organizations for 2011 that have paid for travel -- the american israel public affairs committee is number one at $1.6 million. number two is the aspen institute. guest: the american israeli public affairs committee is probably not the founder of the travel. it is the nonprofit group that is affiliated with a pack that is the founder of the travel. -- of aipac. they have lobbyists. they cannot be paying $1 million in travel. well, they are not. they have a nonprofit that pays for all the travel. we cannot find the distinction between aipac and the nonprofit.
same leadership. the spokesman for aipac called his back when we called to talk to the nonprofit. the lobbying group cannot pay for the travel, but the nonprofit can. the thing with the israel trips is that you then have members of congress going to israel to meet with officials in the israeli government, and it gets listed as an official congressional delegation. member of congress meets the prime minister of israel. but it is not paid for by the government. is that appropriate or not appropriate? it looks weird. whose agenda are you carrying? the government's agenda or aipac's agenda? host: let's look at some of the other groups, nonprofits, organizations on this list. the german marshall fund is one of the heritage foundation. guest: asked in a sort of a think tank group that likes to talk about important issues --
aspin is sort of a think-tank group that likes to talk about important issues. the german marshall fund -- again, this is sort of u.s./your cooperation, sort of organization speed of the heritage foundation is a conservative think-tank. the international conservation caucus foundation, that one was weird. we had never heard of it before. that appears to be a real conservation organization. but they are funded by a bunch of companies, and they fly members of congress to africa to go on safaris essentially. while there, the talk about conservation, but they meet with all these lobbyists and big companies and then fly back. so you have a question, what is the difference between that and having a company fly you out to south africa? host: u.s. association of former members of congress? guest: yes, it is a nonprofit.
some of these are random. even though it makes sense for the association to fly current members to talk about retirement benefits of members, may be a history lecture, who knows. some of it makes sense. some of it is a wacky. host: and here are a couple more. guest: obviously, there are interest groups that have a particular focus. again, you can say, and makes sense that members of congress should go to turkey. they are an important ally. it is a difficult region. then it is a philosophical question. should the taxpayer paid or should the turkish condition pay? host: that's good to the funds. democratic caller from jacksonville, florida. you're talking to paul singer from roll call. caller: my statement is this. a question in a statement. the question is, number one,
when people of congress get elected into office, don't they get a salary? they do. ok, so why should they have to have somebody give them outside money to determine how they vote on things? second, ok, anybody that do that -- this is like bribery. we ain't going to never get in a straight and honest people to work for the people as long as you have got money involved. anybody that take any money from anybody once they're in office, they should be tried for treason. because they all took irresponsibility. they knew what they were going into and started the game. they knew what they were going to make. that is all they need to that is all they should get. if they cannot do their job, they need to be got. they need to be got. they talk about the president, about this than that. each one in congress, i feel, should be investigated and how much money they're making, where their money coming from, who
giving them their money. if it is found out there getting money from places there should not be getting money from, there ass should go to jail. guest: and you just described my job. you're right. they make about 100 some $4,000 a year. they have rules and what they can accept and what they cannot accept. and if they're getting paid to make a decision in congress, that is illegal and they should go to jail. the issue is there is a bunch of fuzzy areas where you have this conversation -- ok, what if i make a donation to a member of congress' reelection, and by the way, the member of congress happens to be voting in favor of things that benefit me? that just take them to take an action or am i supporting a member of congress who is taking action that i support? it is a very tough call. and where we particularly leap
into action is one we see lots and lots of money appearing on the same day from a group of people who all have the same interests. all of the sudden, there is a vote in chronic -- in congress at about the same time. then it looks like the money is tied to the activity. it is much harder than it seems a much harder than it sounds to say, well, clearly, this person gave money to a member of congress. host: another jacksonville, florida phone call. independent wine. caller: thank you for taking my phone calls. paul singer, i appreciate, first of all, is standing up and at least bringing some light to some dark areas when it comes to the government. being in investigative journalism, that is what you do, and it is fantastic. thank you very much for what you do. my question is, when congress gets involved, my concern is --
[inaudible] the largest fraud that exists in the world today. look at the whitaker case. it is a $1 trillion knowing fraudulent transaction. take a look at that one. it is very interesting. it is in jacksonville, florida. i paper trail that this. you're talking about trillions of dollars still going out into bankruptcy. if you want to see a case, that right there makes enron look like child's play. guest: the caller has a point here. you never know exactly what the outcome of the decisions are. they are not necessarily intended outcomes. members of congress go to, say,
approve a judge, which is what he is talking about. what happens if they approve the judge? at that point in washington, we do not care anymore. the judge has been voted on. it is done. the judge will now serve for 20 years to life or however long they serve. there're all kinds of cases that come out of that that we no longer pay attention to. we're glad to hear about it, and you can send me e-mails. i will check into anything. i have got time. topic fors get the this year of finance travel. this is from cq money line. congressman jim cooper, a democratic-tennessee. congressman george miller, a democratic-california. >> both of those are aspen trips. this is the aspen institute. i am still looking into it. i do not like to admit this normally on the air, but i am still digging into this. they provide travel to members of congress to talk about important issues. for instance, they had an energy
summit. ok, cold, clean coal. it took like a dozen members of congress in the rate to puerto rico to talk about energy. why there? largely because that is where members would like to go in february. the schedule is it -- essentially morning meetings and in the afternoon, not much. so what are they, hanging out on the beach? it is one thing to bring members to a meeting to talk about an important topic or issue or focus, but nobody ever goes to detroit. nobody ever does to pittsburgh. they go to vienna or they go to san juan. how come? well, that is our members want to go. host: congressman cooper, $47,000. congressman miller, $46,000. also above the $40,000 range, we see congressman donald payne, democrat-new jersey. congressman bill kendry, republican-georgia. guest: and that is just this
year so far. host: 2011, up to now. guest: yes. some of the trips -- i think trooper was on one of the aspen trips to barcelona, which was to talk about muslims in the world. again, a person when it seems like a pricey and out of the way place, but the gut a lot of experts together to talk about how to deal with the interaction between the west and muslims in the world. so the number looks high. by the way, they took their wives or spouses on these trips as well. again, the number looks high because you see they're going to fund places. host: this is one from twitter -- guest: it is really good question. i can make the argument could not have been on trips to politicians. i can make the argument that you go, you see something you did not see. meet interesting people.
you talk about policy. you see how the place functions. you can understand how that would be valuable from a policy standpoint. but you're twitter follow were is exactly right. couldn't skype same as a lot of money here? seems reasonable. host: a call on the republican line. good morning. go ahead and turn down your tv. caller: ok, i just want to comment on the fact that the people in the congress -- [unintelligible] would like to spend our money. why is it that when people are caught scanning us and taking our money and going on these trips, why can they be made to pay this back? even if they want to put it on the -- [unintelligible] i do not understand it fully myself. would just keep on letting them
do it over and over again guest: and i will tell you something that really caught our eye. last year we did a story that we enjoyed a lot. when members of congress travel overseas, paid for by the taxpayer, we cannot figure out where that money was coming from. we cannot figure out, well -- and again, if there is an account in the budget and every member of congress and the staff would have to say, well, is there enough money left for us to go to italy for this country it's the best conference, which is how you would anticipate a business would do it with the travel budget. turns out, congress does not have a travel budget. there is a magic account that we loads itself automatically to the taxpayers are footing the bill for this. it is up to $15 million a year in some cases before members in congress and their staff to travel overseas, not paid for by private entities, paid for by private government, but there's no bottom line, no budget for it. congress never has to ask, is
there enough money to take this trip. the call on the state department and say, we would like to go to italy for this event. and this date the bodman makes it happen. the defense department generally provides the airplane for free. hundreds of millions of dollars could be spent carrying members of congress around the globe, and no one keeps track of how much it costs. it is a kind of weird. host: a recent story in roll call by paul singer's colleague. talking about -- it looks at how the public campaign action fund, the washington d.c.-based organization that advocates for public financing of elections, sent letters to 20 lawmakers, including premed senior republicans in congress, demanding the reveal any corporate benefits they receive from airlines, including access to delta airlines the at the hot line for special elite status. the report comes at a time when
the federal aviation administration funding reauthorization of the faa is on of the line. did you find a connection between an airline like delta and the perks they're getting, like giving to members of congress, or is it more the appearance thing? guest: it is more the appearance. that is a follow-up story from a month earlier. we found comcast, we believe, had a vip line or if you had difficulty in your cable service at home, there would send a cable technician. you and i sit around and wait for a couple hours for a technician to show up. a congressperson on the vip line gets the customer service first. we believe all the airlines to the same thing. delta one of the record in confirm that they had this sort of enhanced customer service for members of congress. i think that is what this organization was responding to. well, heck, how can you be getting favorable service at the same time you're making
decisions that affect this company? host: this is a story from october. more than $1.5 billion spent on trips. that is from roll-call. arkansas, democrats line. caller: hello. yes, again, i just want to reiterate that the lobbyist is turning the white house upside- down. if we did not have the log is in there, putting in money, influence the senate, the people that are supposed to work for the people of the united states, instead of the rich corporations, i think our government would be in a lot better shape financially. that is pretty much what i have got to say. guest: the problem that you come up against is basically the first amendment. which is, the first amendment
says that you and i have a right to petition our government for a redress of grievances. that is lobbying basically. i covered this step and spend a lot of time. the base problem is that it -- lobbying itself is a protected first amendment right. then the question is, well, how do we carell that right in such a way that it is not corrupting our government? that is how we get into this conversation about, i want to be of a, a member of congress. i can say there is an important program to fund. it might be different if it is
exxon mobile or british petroleum going to capitol hill saying we need you to approve our oil drilling. and, by the way, we will spend money to up fly you to spend a couple days that in this resort. that is also lobbying. the challenge is distinguishing the two in figuring out a way to separate the money in a way that makes the voter comfortable enough that there is not a problem going on. host: massachusetts, independent line. welcome. guest: thank you for taking my call. i am sure i am getting a full tank of cynicism in these last few days. my thoughts, paul, or that -- let's see, give me a minute here. what if a term in congress meant you spent the entire time in the same building as your seat? with the exception of your staff, which they have hundreds of, each member could come and go 24 hours of the day, day or night, pizzas, call girls,
whatever the wanted. but they condensed everything in the rayburn building, where their offices are. what this would take care of would be access, accountability, and of course, no one would want to do this for more than one term, so term limits. the beauty of it would be that in their office, which is down the hall from the gym and the cafeteria and their seats, which they're never in -- when i am watching c-span all day, since i am in a point, they're never in their seats. guest: let me stop you there. you're saying that if we require them to actually be in their seats in the will of the house, and that would solve -- caller: for eight hours of the day. let's face it, when they go to work, from 10:00 -- ok, i watch c-span after "washington journal" in a make a two-minute speech. let's say they get up at 8:00 a.m. and a shower at the gym, go
to the cafeteria and have the food, and go back to their office and a whole line of lobbyists and snodgrasses and myself in the outside the office before 10:00, over the have to go to their seats, and the could take their seats and sit in it, you know? if it is not pro forma session, it is not recess, if it is not working -- what did they do? there is the wednesday club. host: in his definition of work, that means sitting in their seat. guest: what i am about to say, and i do not mean this to reflect poorly on c-span, but the fact of the matter is what goes on the floor of the house of representatives most of the time, all day long, is almost nothing. there is very little actual work being done in the chamber of congress at any given time. i am not saying it is irrelevant to watch or saying that it is an interesting. it is an interesting idea that
he raises. heck, why don't we just move this process back into the floor. what do we move the activity back into the floor? it is an interesting question. would you get more done? would you get more members of congress not wanting to be in congress because they cannot travel? host: comment by e-mail -- how much money to high-ranking officials get per diem per day? he writes -- i that congressmembers hardly ever by their own meals. do the congressmember's turn back in the money? does anyone check up on them? guest: it is really big question. the "wall street journal close code did a story on this a year- and-a-half ago. it shook the rafters. there is a per diem for members of congress who travel and staff. it depends on where you're
traveling to. what they found was that basically nobody ever paid back the excess. members of congress are using that money largely to buy trinkets for their spouses, to have lavish events. they would land in a foreign location, pocket the foreign currency, and move on with their day. they are right. they never pay for their own meals. what did they use the money for? the house ethics committee did an investigation and concluded that congress is to conclude that the body disobeys the rules, but they did institute new policies requiring members of congress to have better accounting for that per diem and to give the money back. there now are clearer requirements that when there is per diem, members of to give it back or write a check to treasury to return it. that was not entirely clear in the past. it is hard to track and figure
out exactly how we would force this as outsiders. but at least there's not a policy in place. host: it seems like the nature of the per diem is it is an amount of money you can use per day, different than turning in receipts at the end of a tretri. why not turn in receipts, too complicated? guest: too complicated. it would be like going to members of congress and say, i would like your taxes can proceeds from venezuela? it is not going to happen. host: this one from guest: it is interesting. it host: republican, kansas. caller: good morning. i am a retired accountant.
i have been retired for 30 years. i have listened to c-span every day. my thinking on this travel for congress, too many people out here do not realize that if they do not live in a bubble there. they have to operate, dislike the corporation presidents and all that do peter to be able to understand what is going on in. as far as the aspen things, it is a luxury. but they are learning about different areas of civilization. that is all. guest: this is exactly the point, and i think it is a fair point. members of congress criticized all the time for being inside the bubble, not been connected to regular people. i think it was george h. w.
bush who do not know how to scan and the grocery store. you want members of congress to be up amongst the people and be out seeing stuff, learning about stuff. and again, would say they're building a new kind of solar panels some facility. london to be worthwhile for members of congress and the district to check of the solar panel before the vote in favor or against solar panels? it makes some sense. but, again, then the issue becomes, where to draw that line between the worthwhile congressional fact-finding trips and the beachfront junket. i think we would all agree there is a line someplace. we're just not sure how to draw that line. we sort of know it when we see it. host: guest: the top 10 trip destinations for members of congress are listed.
united states is number one with 212. israel comes next, 111. and austria, germany, and turkey. >> and usa, keep in mind, that includes places like las vegas, which is a popular place to have meetings. one event that congress goes to is the consumer electronics association event in las vegas every year. again, it is not pittsburgh. to set this straight, a love pets or -- i love pittsburgh, but they're bigger tourist attractions to go to. there's the american israel foundation that is spending a lot of money. they spent more than $1 million in august alone sending dozens of members of congress to israel. and every year, that is the case. there'll be several members of congress flying to israel, funded by one of these think tanks or pacs, to go learn more
about our ally in the middle east. host: tony, democratic caller. caller: yes, i was wondering, on these expense accounts, haven't they ever heard of motel 8 or pizza hut or guest: a subway: you will not find them at a motel 6. caller: that is right. that is why the money goes down the drain. guest: corporate executives get raked over the coals for flying in private jets and living in swank hotels. and members of congress do not generally stay at motel 6. you are exactly right. you can ask the question, whether they should or whether they should not you can believe that as elected officials and people of importance in this country should be getting better treatment than that. i can tell you that if you go to these forms and take a look, one of the strips at a trip to india, and these folks actually
stayed in a hotel called the hotel taj mahal. that should tell you something about what they are paying per night. this gets back to the whole question of, you know, where is the appropriate line for a member of congress to travel, whether it is on the taxpayer dimer on a dime of a private company? how much perk is too much perk? host: this went on to it as a spring on jack abramoff as a guest and we will talk about real corruption. you mentioned his name earlier. he is making the rounds right now. talking publicly, doing interviews. how have things changed since that time and whether you learning from what he is saying now? >> i am learning not much from what he is saying now. most of his discussion the stuff we have previously heard or read. it is basically that this is the
way business is being done in washington everywhere. he is entitled to that view. since abramoff double the assembly but the beginning of the 100th congress, congress had a bunch of new rules that were basically abramoff's rules. stuff like limiting the amount of trouble the lobbying firms can pay for, cutting back on gifts that can be provided. currently, the obama administration is working on a rule that would completely eliminate gives the would be given to executive-branch employees. again, this is controversial. because should somebody york's of the energy department be able to take a trip to a conference, wherever it is, on energy profit? don't we want that person to be educated on energy topics and learning at this conference? on the other hand, should they
be taking a free flight to someplace like las vegas? is it the sort of question that the obama administration is struggling with now, trying to figure out how to write that really -- rule to prevent give; the work the government does while not making the government blind. host: let's get to the phones. independent caller in tennessee. caller: yes, we have a lot of people in our neighborhood who do not drive the $500 on social security. i think they could have took the money it cost to have that [unintelligible] blusguest: well, again, there'sa
bunch of stuff i wonder about. i am never quite sure how to calculate it. to give you an example, using the aircraft carrier for basketball game, who paid for that? u.s. the same question when they stealth bombers over the super bowl or any football game in a packed stadium? with a paying for that? is that a good use of military resources? the military says, well, that is for recruiting, because it makes people excited about the air force. fair enough. but every one of the expenditures raises the same set of questions. is this more worthwhile than what ever else we might be of use the money for. as you can see, this supercommittee has been up here for three or four months and able to make decisions about where the mirth -- were the more worthwhile places to spend that money.
an example is that it is a worthwhile place to spend the money. host: it distinction ditching with the taxpayers pay and what lobbyists pay on twitter. taxpayers do not pay for it junkets. lobbyists do. do not confuse the listeners. the distinction in his mind is important on who is paying for what. guest: ok, taxpayers to pay for a lot of this travel. there is private travel and taxpayer-funded travel. we can get into the dispute about whether this trip as a junket or not one members of congress go to some place in eastern europe and around easter, and basically there are no officials they can meet with because there is celebrating easter or they're out shopping in bringing hope -- so they are out shopping and bringing home gifts for their families. is that it junket? well, maybe. on the other hand, if they fly to afghanistan to visit the troops and their staying and some sort of lousy dormitory,
maybe it is not a junket. maybe it is a worthwhile expenditure, a taxpayer resources. some are paid for by taxpayers. some by private companies. host: paul singer, investigative reporter ed roll call. they have done a series of stories looking at how members get free trips from nonprofit groups, lobbyists, and which trips are paid for by the taxpayer. the next call is a republican in pennsylvania. caller: good morning. paul, we finally protecting lobbyists. so now they're all scapegoats. and corporations run the show petraeus sorry sure if we wanted jobs, americans would have to find out that the company cannot pay their health care, because if they go to china but not
paying health care, they will not come here and pay $11,000 a year. industry has to -- [unintelligible] the biggest lobby there is. nobody realizes it. i have invested nine overseas companies. we cannot do it in the united states. it was not worth it. we had two hundred employees. that is where lobbying is that they're all spigot's but i am old enough to remember world war ii, and pay 30% tax would be a dream. we paid 80%, because the balance the budget. >> and lobbying, you get to the point here, lobbing assembly process of people asking for stuff from congress. and over the years, people have asked for stuff from congress that ultimately, it looks like at the moment, we were having a very hard time affording. congress has agreed to pay for these things and agreed to use
the taxpayers' money to pay for these things. now we're having trouble making the bills add up with the revenues. what do we do about that? by the way, yes the question, what do we do about that? there are a lobbyist on capitol hill right now arguing about what to do next. now the supercommittee has failed -- well, the supercommittee is apparently about to fail. there will be a whole flock of lobbyist on capitol hill arguing about what should be our next steps to prevent automatic spending cuts from going into effect in 15 months. it is simply a reality that when congress is faced with important policy decisions, there will be companies and individuals and groups lobbying to congress. it is the way democracy works. host: your team has been covering what has been going on with the so-called supercommittee. what is the next step in what
you're watching and with your team will be watching today? imagine that we're expecting the heads of the supercommittee to come out. guest: hopefully we will all get to go out for thanksgiving could then we will have to tee up with the supercommittee did not get done. there are a bunch of taxes that will go back into effect in january unless the tax cuts are extended. some of those are like the present payroll tax cuts from a couple years ago. those would be basically tax increases that would take place immediately in january. i do nothing congress wants to do that. i expect to have to figure out how to do that. there's still a bunch of appropriations bills that have to get past. there is continued resolution. what we're interested in is sort of how the congress waits for
the supercommittee doh voice of a bunch of problems and put solutions in one package to nelnow going back and thinking,e have to take care of this, this, in this? there is a medicare thing involved about doctors and payments and services. congress is probably going to want to do something about it before the end of the year. to some degree, all this activity is critical and had been put off while we waited for the supercommittee to finish its work and hopefully address to mention those issues. since they have not done that now, it appears they have not done that now, now have to go back to doing regular legislative work. that is what my team is chasing today. what is first? how do you do it? can you get the votes in congress for these little pieces that look like they are going to be very difficult to do before
the supercommittee? will they be easier now? host: we are looking at the front page of roll call. there have line today is a december scramble awaits. we're hearing that the supercommittee is poised to announce they have not reached an agreement. you have proved -- to have been reporting on the hill for a long time peter you have seen down to the wire had but the use that you elected to have thanksgiving on personal time. but that has happened over a few years were reporters, staffers from everyone else, with iran. this is a holiday. members of congress work through to try to hammer something out. did you and your step think this would be something that would come to the wire and it would ultimately pull something out in the client? does it say anything about how negotiations are done that this group of 12 is saying we're not coming up with something? >> i think when this whole supercommittee plan came out, which was that there will make a decision to come up with a proposal by thanksgiving,
congress has to pass it by christmas, we all canceled our long christmas vacations and hour-long thanksgiving occasions. we assume that there would be two mad resisted the deadline. i think it is now becoming clear that these deadlines or never all that real. since none of the immediate cuts go into effect until january 2013, congress does not feel that compelled to get moving on it that step. there were sort of happy to let it go by the wayside. i do believe there will be some last minute deadline fixes of stuff like government spending by the end of the year, some of these tax breaks. those are some of the things with real deadlines, because nobody wants to see a january 1 happy new year tax code going to affect. and it will come down to the last minute. because nobody ever wants to give up until they have to give up, it will probably be christmas eve. my poor capitol hill staff once
again be spending the weekend sitting in the empty corridors of congress waiting for someone to come out and say, yes, we have done this. until that time, there's not much we can do except hang around and say, guys, we would like to go home, too. could you please finish up? host: paul singer -- >> secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner were holding a news conference shortly about the new sanctions against iran. reportedly, the sanctions will target iranian companies, the revolutionary guard force, and iran's petrochemical sector in an effort to pressure tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program. at little more about the announcement in the associated press. a u.s. official says the obama administration is working with britain and canada on the new sanctions. the actions represent the first direct response to the u.n. nuclear agency's recent report suggesting iran is working towards the development of atomic weapons. so that briefing is expected to
get under way momentarily. an update about capitol hill, members of the joint said reduction committee are engaged today in several hours of negotiations with the deadline just hours away. congressional quarterly " senate finance committee chairman max baucus as saying, we have a few more hours and then members were making headway and discussing tax-related ideas offered by senator john kerry. senator baucus made those comments as he left that meeting with several republicans and democrats on the deficit panel. the committee has until november 23 to vote on a proposal, but the panel must have an agreement by midnight tonight. to meet a requirement of 48 hours' notice of the proposal. as we wait for the briefing on iran's sanctions, here is more about the deficit reduction committee. >> let's go now to laurie montgomery with the "washington
post," financial reporter, talking about what is going on. good morning. thank you for joining us today. in a lot of the pictures in the newspapers show a relatively quiet capital yesterday, the assertive hallways. what was it like there? >> as my colleague put it in this morning's paper, if they met yesterday, they met only in the green room for the sunday talk shows, were seven of them are appearing. it was pretty quiet. they basically gave up the ghost sometime between friday and saturday. so there was not a lot happening yesterday. host: what was the big message that we heard yesterday? >> the other guy is to blame. democrats are continuing to say that this failed because republicans are unwilling to consider significant tax increases as part of the solution. and republicans are continuing to say that this failed because the democrats will do that before the cut spending.
it through us into chaos in august, and that is perpetuated. host: what do expect to happen today? are we looking at the timing of this to of knowledge the financial markets and make sure this does not affect that? >> yes, congressman hensarling was arguing that it should be low-key, may be a joint statement, maybe around 5:00 p.m. after the markets of closed. senator murray, the democratic co-chair, said, no, we have to face people and answer questions but i am not sure the decision has been. host: in mentioned that this unfolded a couple of days ago. where was the bright spot in the past week or two when it looked like a solution could be met, a compromise could be reached, and how did it fall apart? >> that is a really good question. it was approximately two weekends ago when max baucus and
dave camp worked through the weekend to try to figure out whether they could reach an agreement on taxes. this came a few days after senator toomey laid out the first republican proposal that it proposed to increase taxes. at the end of that weekend, there were acknowledgments that republicans had gone as high as $650 billion in new taxes, which is very close to the sort of bottom line $800 billion goal that democrats have had, because that is the amount that you get if you let the bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. so that was sort of their bright line, $800 billion. over the weekend, republicans approached that number. but somehow it fell apart. both sides have blamed the other. democrats said that republicans walked away from it. republicans say, no, baucus and further than his democratic colleagues were willing to let
him go, and they yank him back. so it is one of the key mysteries, how close they were and why they did not make it. host: we will be talking to mark zandi from moody's later in the show and talk about financial implications. what are you hearing from members of congress and their staffers about how dire of the situation is this? are some people pleased that we move on to the next phase now? >> edition of be a particularly dire situation to the dire situation is whether or not we extend the payroll tax holiday, which expires on december 31, and unemployment insurance. because those are two things that the supercommittee was supposed to deal with. now that they have failed, congress has got to figure out how to extend them. host: thank you so much. >> we are here at the state department, waiting for secretary of state hillary clinton and treasury secretary timothy geithner.
the ap writing that u.s. officials said the obama administration is teaming with britain and canada to impose new sanctions on iran to pressure to iran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program. the ap writing that the british announced the first measure, declaring that the would cut off all financial ties with iranian banks to stem the flow of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. canada is also expected to announce new measures.
>> as we wait for this briefing on iran sanctions, we just received a couple of statements from members of the joint committee on the deficit reduction. it says that the cochairs of the joint committee on deficit reduction represented jeb hensarling and senator murray say that after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion
today that we will not see a possible to make any bipartisan agreements available to the public before the committee's deadline. the statement goes on to say, despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant evanses, we end this process united in our beliefs that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve. so the cochairs of the committee, senator patty murray and jeb hensarling saying that the joint of is the reduction committee has not reached a plan. today, jay carney made a statement about the committee's work at the white house. >> the president of the united states, as you noted, throughout the summer, was engaged directly and personally in extensive negotiations with congress, with the speaker of the house, on what would have been a broad and balanced and substantial
proposal to reduce our deficit and debt over the long term. the vice president was also engaged, as you know, with house majority leader erick kanter. and those efforts, unfortunately, despite the willingness of the president to take extraordinary steps and to bring his party along with them and their willingness to go along with the kind of balanced approach to that he felt was necessary and right for the tender, in the end, republicans walked away from that. the president, at the beginning of the process, the beginning of the supercommittee process, the committee established by an act of congress, put forward a comprehensive proposal that went well beyond the $1.2 trillion mandated by that act and it was a balanced approach to deficit reduction and getting our long- term debt under control. that has been available to the
committee since it first started meeting and is available today with the waning hours left to it to act. as a road map to how you achieve the kind of balanced approach that americans demand. this committee was established by an act of congress. it was comprised of members of congress. instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, congress should act to fulfil its responsibility. as for the sequester, it was designed -- again, this act of congress was voted on by members of both parties and signed into law this president specifically to be onerous, to hold their feet to the fire. it was designed so that it never came to pass, because congress, understanding the consequences of failure, understanding the consequences of inaction, the consequences of being unwilling to take a balanced approach, were so dire.
now, let me just say, congress still has it within its capacity to be responsible and act. as you noted, the sequestered does not take effect for a year. congress could still act and has plenty of time to act. and because congress to fulfil its responsibility. >> does the president agree with the secretary panetta that it would hollow out our military -- >> we made clear that the cuts in the sequester are not the best approach to achieving the kind of deficit reduction that we need. and that the defense cuts are much deeper than we think are wise. as secretary panetta, the president, and others have made clear. which is why congress needs to fulfill its responsibility. in needs to hold itself to account.
and also, should not then try to undo the consequences of their own failure, the consequences that they themselves passed into law. they should do the right thing and come together. it is important to remember, however, that because of the budget control act, the $1.2 trillion that the supercommittee was supposed to achieve in deficit reduction, will happen regardless. that was the purpose of the law. it is congress' responsibility to achieve that in the right way, a better way, and a balanced way. and the president has weighed in in great detail with what he thinks is the right approach, an approach that is supported overwhelmingly by the american people, not just by democrats and independents, but by republicans. unfortunately, we have come to a point where -- i mean, it really is, there's a lot of complexity loaded onto this process unnecessarily, and it comes down
to a decision by republicans that they are unwilling to do with the american people say they believe should be done. which is ask the very wealthiest americans, millionaires and billionaires, to pay a little bit extra so we can achieve the deficit reduction and long-term debt control that we need. so that willingness, -- without that willingness, it is hard to see how we come to an answer. >> [inaudible] >> i think that, as everyone can see from where we have been through this process, the bipartisan proposals put forward by the commissions and by the president, the proposal to worked on with the speaker of the house and the proposal before work for everyone to see in its september requires everyone who looked at this re